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The Neurobiology and Brain Tumor Program (NBTP) is a comprehensive program that includes world leading neuroscientists, cancer biologists and physicians among its highly interactive membership. The members of the NBTP are drawn from 10 academic departments from across the institution. The Program is organized into three interest groups that share the common goals of advancing understanding of normal and neoplastic development in the central nervous system to improve the outcome of children with brain tumors:
This large coordinated effort by the NBTP to improve the lives of children with brain tumors relies heavily upon the outstanding shared resources provided by the Cancer Center and close collaborative links with other Cancer Center Programs.
Brain tumors are the most common solid malignancies of childhood and are a leading cause of cancer-related death in children. Further, since brain tumors arise within delicate and critical tissues, the treatment of these diseases frequently and significantly impairs the function of survivors. Therefore, the principal aim of the NBTP is to reduce the mortality and morbidity of children with brain tumors through the development of innovative new treatment approaches that are guided by basic and translational research. To achieve this we are pursuing the following major scientific goals:
The NBTP has matured into a fully interactive Program in which advances in understanding of the biology of normal and malignant growth in the nervous system are translated rapidly into therapeutic trials in the clinic. These translational efforts include Phase I, II and III trials of the most common and lethal forms of childhood brain tumors. Initial research efforts that focused on primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNET) and medulloblastoma have expanded to include basic laboratory and clinical studies of ependymoma and glioma. Detailed molecular studies of tumors obtained prospectively from patients treated within a number of ongoing clinical trials are also underway. These data should provide key information regarding the mode of action of specific molecular targeted therapies as well new and accurate disease-risk staging systems for brain tumors.