Pilocytic astrocytomas (PA), the most common childhood brain tumor, is classified into 2 groups: those that are resected and do not recur (non-progressors), and those that recur early and need further treatment, progressors. There is little that distinguishes these patients at diagnosis, a fact which leads to uncertainty regarding the need for further treatment on the part of the physician and uneasiness and worry about the long-term outcome for their children on the part of the parent. A pilot study at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center to generate comprehensive molecular profiles of patients’ PA tumors produced exciting preliminary data showing distinct differences. This study, led by principal investigator Elizabeth Maher, MD, PhD, aims to identify novel markers that can predict progressive disease and, equally important, identify novel targets for new drug development for this important childhood disease.
Funded in 2008.