Principal Investigator: Xiao-Nan Li, MD, PhD, Texas Children’s Hospital-Baylor College of Medicine,
Houston, Texas

The goal of this project is to develop and characterize a panel of primary tumor-based orthotopic xenograft mouse models of pediatric low-grade glioma for broad distribution and use in understanding the biology and testing novel therapies. Using our surgical protocols that have successfully achieved greater than 70% (20 models from 28 specimens) tumor take rate in malignant pediatric brain tumors, we aim to develop 4-5 transplantable orthotopic xenograft models through direct implantation of 20-25 fresh surgical specimens of low grade gliomas into anatomically matched locations in mouse brains.

Detailed characterization of the xenograft tumors will be performed to make sure they faithfully replicate the biology of the original patients tumor, and to identify all genetic abnormalities. We will also examine if cancer stem cells play a role in determining the xenograft forming capabilities by correlating cancer stem cell frequencies in patient tumors with their tumor take rate. Sine these xenograft lines are patient specific, each derive from distinct pediatric patients, and sustained through serial subtransplatations in mouse brains and long-term cryopreservation, we will be able to provide a large cohort of clinically relevant animal models, on demand, to facilitate marker and target identifications and expedite the development to effective therapies.