Principal Investigator Dr. Jeffrey Leonard, Washington University.

This study will evaluate three growth characteristics of JPA that might offer clues for research. First, JPA is primarily a disease of childhood. Second, JPAs behave differently when they occur in different parts of the brain. Third, JPAs grow slowly and often stop growing spontaneously, possibly because JPAs cannot bypass the ‘biological clock’ that stops non-cancer cells from growing indefinitely. We will implant JPA cells taken from children undergoing surgical removal of their tumor into the brains of mice. We will determine if these cells grow preferentially when they are implanted into the brains of very young mice in places that correspond to the original location of the tumor in the patient, and if so, why. We will also put telomerase, a gene that bypasses the ‘biological clock’ into JPA cells and see if this allows tumor growth in mice brains.

This project could identify proteins or genes that are important for JPA growth that could be used as targets for drugs or therapies to cure JPA.

The PLGA Foundation recognizes the Brain Tumor Society (BTS) Boston for their support on this project.