Brain tumors kill more children than any other cancer. Despite remarkable progress in our understanding of the biology and origins of these cancers, few targeted therapies are available and prognosis for most patients remains grim. To address this gap in care, The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research convened a meeting of worldwide experts at the Banbury Center at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. The workshop was organized by Richard Gilbertson, MBBS, PhD, University of Cambridge; Nada Jabado, MD, PhD, McGill University Health Centre; and Michelle Monje, MD, PhD, Stanford University. The event saw two dozen scientists converge on the Banbury Center to present novel findings, brainstorm pioneering ideas and practices, and set goals for translating fundamental discoveries into therapeutic interventions for pediatric brain tumors.
During the meeting, the attendees shared new insights on the genomic and epigenomic landscape of these malignancies, progress on identifying the cell-of-origin for brain tumor subtypes, the neuroscience and neuronal crosstalk of tumor cells in the brain, and improving preclinical models for the field. There was also a strong emphasis on translating the work to clinical trials; participants discussed the latest in immunotherapy advances, and clinical research design and execution for molecularly stratified pediatric patient populations.
A number of new collaborations among investigators attending the workshop are currently under consideration for funding through The Mark Foundation’s ASPIRE award program, in alignment with the foundation’s commitment to bringing together complementary capabilities and supporting bold interdisciplinary initiatives that take on the toughest challenges in cancer research.