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Modeling Anaplastic Medulloblastoma using Cerebellar Stem Cells

Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute
Robert Wechsler-Reya, PhD
Grant Type: 
Innovation Grants
Year Awarded: 
Type of Childhood Cancer: 
Brain Tumors, Medulloblastoma
Project Description: 

Medulloblastoma, a tumor of the cerebellum, is the most common malignant brain tumor in children. Although a combination of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy can cure many medulloblastoma patients, 25-30% of patients still die from their disease. Moreover, those who survive suffer devastating side effects from the treatment, including cognitive deficits an increased susceptibility to other cancers later in life. More effective strategies for treating MB depend on development of animal models that can be used to study the causes of the disease and to test new approaches to therapy.  One of most aggressive forms of medulloblastoma is the large cell-anaplastic variant. Anaplastic tumors grow more rapidly and metastasize more frequently than other types of medulloblastoma, and are associated with a much poorer prognosis. With previous support from Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, we developed a new animal model of large cell anaplastic medulloblastoma. Here we propose to use this model to identify and test novel therapies for this disease. If these therapies show promise in animals, we hope to move them forward into clinical trials for medulloblastoma patients.