Improving therapeutic approaches for children with high-risk brain tumors and bone and soft tissue sarcomas.
Our group collaborates with translational researchers to develop and determine the impact of combinatorial therapies, such as radiation therapy with chemotherapy or radiation therapy with drugs that inhibit the DNA damage repair mechanism, in children with high-grade gliomas and bone and soft tissue sarcomas.
Radiation therapy is a valuable treatment option for those with primary and metastatic tumors which cannot be completely or safely resected. However, the location or size of some tumors can make it difficult to use radiation therapy safely and effectively. My work focuses on improving therapeutic approaches for children with high-risk brain tumors and bone and soft tissue sarcomas.
I share a laboratory with Anang Shelat, PhD in the Department of Chemical Biology & Therapeutics to develop preclinical studies that use novel targeted therapies in combination with chemotherapy and radiotherapy to motivate early phase clinical trials in these high-risk populations.
Developing novel combination therapies
An aberrant DNA damage response can lead to the resistance of DNA damaging therapies in many cancers such as high-grade glioma, an aggressive brain tumor responsible for the majority of brain tumor-related deaths in children. In adults it has been shown that concomitantly inhibiting DNA damage repair mechanisms and administering radiation therapy is beneficial in treating some cancers. Therefore, we aim to build on this knowledge for our pediatric patients. We are identifying and optimizing the effects of radiation therapy–through combining it with chemotherapy or with radiosensitizing agents–in children with high-grade glioma, Ewing sarcoma and other cancers that have been shown to have defects in their DNA damage response. These novel treatment strategies stand to improve prognoses in these patients.
Christopher Tinkle, MD, PhD
Department of Radiation Oncology
MS 210, Room I3124
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital