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Combined molecular targeting to enhance therapy for group 3 medulloblastoma

Robert Castellino, MD

Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

Brain tumors are among the most common cancers in children, and medulloblastoma (MB) is the most common malignant pediatric brain tumor. Overall, about 70% of MBs can be cured by combining treatments with surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. This means that about one-third of MB variants are resistant to current treatments. Dr. Robert Castellino in the Department of Pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine has found that children with MB whose tumors show high expression of the proteins MYC or PPM1D have a lower chance of surviving their disease. In preliminary studies in the laboratory, they have shown that combined inhibition of MYC and PPM1D significantly inhibits MB tumor growth. With funding from CURE Childhood Cancer, they will explore how these proteins work together to promote MB growth and how they prevent radiation from killing MB cells. They will use this information to develop and test novel treatments for aggressive MB variants to improve survival for children diagnosed with MB.