Principal Investigators Dr. David Gutmann and Dr. Tobey MacDonald, Washington University

This study represents a collaborative project that builds upon the 2006 BTS-funded project focused on juvenile pilocytic astrocytomas (JPAs). The 2006 project boasted the first truly comprehensive genomic, genetic and proteomic analysis of JPAs. This year’s project will focus on pediatric fibrillary astrocytomas (PFA) as it continues to employ multiple complementary high-throughput technologies to identify key molecular genetic changes (DNA, RNA and protein) and growth control pathways that represent potential molecular targets for future therapeutic drug design. This approach, leading to “targeted therapeutics,” has had great success in a number of adult cancers. Unfortunately, unlike some of the other common childhood tumors, PFA has not been subjected to the same rigorous and comprehensive molecular analysis that constitutes the necessary first step for the development of targeted therapeutics. No single study has analyzed a sufficiently large enough sample size, and more importantly, no investigation has concurrently studied the DNA, RNA and corresponding protein expression of each individual tumor to make definitive and statistically valid conclusions regarding the molecular basis of PFA.

A Kids’ Brain Tumor Cure recognizes the Brain Tumor Society (BTS) Boston for their support on this project.