Interrogating the Enhancer Landscapes of Ependymoma to Inform Novel Therapies
This project originated at The Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, OH. Effective July 2017, Dr. Mack has accepted a new position will be completing his Young Investigator project at Baylor.
Pediatric brain tumors cause the most cancer-related deaths in children. Traditionally, therapies for childhood brain cancers have been based upon adult protocols. This extension has largely failed in pediatric brain tumors, resulting in high mortality and high morbidity rates due to brain cancer and its debilitating treatments. Children are not merely "little adults." Hence, efforts are desperately needed to understand the molecular basis of pediatric brain tumors and develop novel treatment modalities. This holds true particularly in infant ependymoma, a highly lethal and chemo-resistant brain tumor with no molecular markers in clinical use and no known oncogenes for targeted therapy.
My proposed research plan, to characterize the enhancer landscape of ependymoma, is an alternative and complementary approach to traditional genomic strategies for targeted therapy identification. I expect that my findings will uncover key ependymoma oncogenes and cancer dependencies that are amenable to pharmacologic inhibition.
"The Alex's Lemonade Stand grant will provide the foundation needed to advance my research program on infant ependymoma, a lethal childhood brain tumor, with currently no targeted therapies available to patents. From a career standpoint, this grant will have an important impact on my long-term goal of becoming an independent academic scientist." - Stephen Mack, PhD