The Neurobiology and Brain Tumor Program (NBTP) brings together world leading neuroscientists, cancer biologists and physicians within a highly interactive group. The overall goal of the Program is to develop curative, minimally toxic therapies, for children with brain tumors. The Program includes 30 Full Members and 4 Associate (junior mentored) Members, drawn from 9 academic departments. The members are organized into three focus groups that contribute thematic, complementary expertise to a programmatic pipeline that is translating basic neuroscience discoveries to the clinic: (i) Fundamental Neuroscience: this group studies the development, function, and death of normal and neoplastic neural tissues. The research in this group has been greatly facilitated by an NCI-P01 Program Project Grant held for over 9 years Leveraging core expertise in human and mouse genetics, this group also generates new mouse models of childhood brain tumors for biology studies and therapeutic discovery, (ii) Translational Research: this group facilitates direct collaborations between the Fundamental Neuroscience and Brain Tumor Therapy Groups, translating the results of genomic studies into robust, diagnostic tests of tumor subtype; developing new disease risk stratification tools; and employing the mouse models generated in the Program to identify potential new treatments of brain tumors, (iii) Brain Tumor Therapy: this group translates the discoveries made within groups (i) and (ii) to clinical trial. Members also study the late effects of brain tumor therapies and how to mitigate these. Clinical and laboratory-based experts work closely together to design and implement cutting-edge clinical trials that include appropriate molecular and pharmacokinetic assays. Members also play leading and collaborative roles in the national consortia, including the Children's Oncology Group and Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium. The NBTP relies heavily upon the outstanding Shared Resources provided by the Center and close collaborative links with the other Programs. The NBTP membership is supported by $12.0 million In cancer-related funding ($7.8 million peer-reviewed; $4.2 million other sources). Program members published over 431 manuscripts during the last funding period, 28% of which were intra-programmatic collaborations and 34% of which were inter-programmatic.
Brain tumors remain a leading cause of death among children diagnosed with cancer. There is a great need for new, less toxic treatments, since cure rates have remained static for more than a decade, and survivors suffer debilitating side effects. The NBTP, together with the unique resources and collaborations available in the Cancer Center, are working to develop effective and relatively none toxic therapies for these devastating childhood cancers.
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