On behalf of Dr. Mark Souweidane and the Children’s Brain Tumor Project, we are proud to announce that the Lancet Oncology has published the highly anticipated results of Dr. Mark Souweidane’s first-ever dose escalation study using convection-enhanced delivery (CED) in patients with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG). The milestone Phase I clinical trial, which investigated the safety of using CED to bypass the blood-brain barrier and administer a drug directly to a brain stem tumor site, resulted in no serious adverse effects and no dose-limiting toxicity; researchers conclude that the technique is safe to use in children.
This publication validates a career-long hypothesis that Dr. Souweidane put forth more than 20 years ago, and was only made possible by the families who entrusted their children in his care by enrolling in the trial, and the donors who have provided the financial support to enable this research (read his inspiring blog here).
The results are so promising, they are expected to eventually change the landscape of future pediatric brain tumor protocols.
Dr. Jeffrey Greenfield, Co-Founder of the Children’s Brain Tumor Project, has accepted an invitation to become a standing member of the Weill Cornell Medicine Englander Institute for Precision Medicine. Dr. Greenfield’s formal affiliation with the Institute is in recognition of his work in genomic sequencing of pediatric brain tumors and his ongoing research collaboration with the Institute.
The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants, has just announced its newest round of grants, and Weill Cornell’s Children’s Brain Tumor Project is proud to be a recipient. St. Baldrick’s has committed to grant more than $2 million to support the next generation of St. Baldrick’s Fellows and Summer Fellows at 27 institutions across the U.S.
The Children’s Brain Tumor Project is a leader in leveraging precision medicine to help inform customized treatment protocols for children with brain tumors. As a result, Dr. Jeffrey Greenfield’s lab team was invited to present at the 2nd Pediatric Precision Oncology Conference.
Building on the success of last year’s “Summer Sprint,” the Children’s Brain Tumor Project has initiated several new projects that take advantage of summer grants as well as the additional resources we now have available through Dr. Dahmane’s laboratory. Read more
These are exciting times in pediatric neuro-oncology research, and nowhere is that excitement felt more than right here in the CBTP labs. We have recently doubled in size, thanks to the generous support of our families and friends. Where once our two teams worked side by side, taking parallel paths toward our common goal, now we are four. And we couldn’t be happier about that. Read more
Dr. Michael Kaplitt, our Vice Chair for Research, made news this summer when he became the first in New York to use Magnetic Resonance-guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS) to treat patients with essential tremor, just a week after the technology received FDA approval. The completely non-invasive technique uses 1,000 low-energy ultrasound waves focused on a precise spot in the brain, each individual wave sparing healthy tissue while the combined energy destroys its target. Read more
Perhaps the greatest milestone in 2016 came when Dr. Uday Bhanu Maachani established two gliomatosis cerebri cell cultures from living patients. From one of these lines he created a xenograft: A mouse model with a GC tumor sampled from an actual patient. This is the only animal model anywhere in the world with a GC tumor cultured from a patient. Read more
The Children’s Brain Tumor Project made amazing progress this year, not only in terms of what we learned but also in what we shared. The fact is, getting our discoveries out into the scientific community is just as important as making them in the first place. Research is such an iterative process—we make a small but significant finding and share it by publishing an academic paper read by colleagues around the world, which they then use to advance their own work. They publish their new findings, which we then read and use to inspire our next steps. Back and forth, one step at a time, we move the science forward.
That’s why 2016 was such a big year for us. We made some very interesting findings, but we also concentrated on sharing them. The Internet is a big help here, since it shortens the time it takes to disseminate information. An accepted paper can spend months in the queue for publication, but academic journals now publish electronically in advance of print. That gets our findings into circulation much faster, and it also lets us learn from other labs in a more timely way. Read more
There’s an old adage that says if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together. Research science rarely adheres to that—investigators spend a lot of lonely hours peering into microscopes and scrolling through endless data points, all in the hope that someday all that solo work will add up to a breakthrough. We often go alone, and go far, but usually not fast.
The Children’s Brain Tumor Project has also defied that adage in that we are going fast, but together. This requires teamwork like no other—we need other labs at Weill Cornell, tissue banks around the country, and other scientists comparing notes and sharing findings—because we know we need to move quickly, and get far. Read more