The Developmental Biology and Solid Tumor Program (DBSTP) brings together 30 members, including 26 Full and four Associate (junior mentored) Members from nine departments with the shared goal of improving outcomes for children and adolescents with solid tumors. In 2009, the Program underwent a change in leadership, prompted by the departure from the SJCCC of Dr. Peter Houghton (then co-leader of the Program). At that time, the SJCCC took the opportunity to reinvigorate the Program, undertaking a collaborative restructuring process that resulted in a translational research pipeline that integrates basic, translational and clinical research. The Program is now structured around three highly-integrated focus groups: (i) The Basic Research Group: This group employs developmental biology and genomic approaches to better understand the processes regulating normal development and how these processes are deregulated in childhood solid tumors. This group also includes an innovative drug discovery and drug development effort to advance molecular-targeted therapies relevant to pediatric solid tumors (ii) Translational Research Group: The translational research group provides an essential bridge between the basic and clinical research groups and is focused on the development and implementation of innovative new methods for testing therapeutics in preclinical models to guide clinical trial development. Investigators in the translational research group have expertise in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, animal models of pediatric solid tumors, and statistical design of preclinical and clinical trials, (iii) The Clinical Research Group: conducts cutting-edge clinical trials for patients with solid tumors and participates in national collaborative clinical trials through the Children's Oncology Group (COG) and other consortia. The DBSTP is supported by $6.0 million in cancer-focused grants ($4.7 million peer-reviewed, $1.3 million non-peer reviewed), and research in the program has led to 465 publications during the funding period of which 22% (n=102/465) represent intraprogrammatic collaborations, and 29% (n= 136/465) represent interprogrammatic collaborations.
Solid tumors account for 30% of all childhood cancer deaths. Despite improvements in therapy, progress in age-adjusted mortality trends have become stagnant over the past 20 years. Outcomes for children with recurrent or metastatic solid malignancies are particularly poor. The DBSTP, together with the unique resources and collaborations available across the Cancer Center, is working to develop new therapies for these childhood cancers and reduce late effects for survivors.
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