Tobey MacDonald, MD

Funded by the Buster and Kristen Posey Fund

Brain tumors cause the most cancer deaths in children. A tumor known as medulloblastoma (MB) is the most common type of childhood brain cancer. Children die of MB because the cancer spreads through the brain. New information indicates that some MB cells may first go into the bloodstream before spreading to the brain and forming new tumors. Cancer cells in the bloodstream are called “circulating tumor cells” (CTCs). We recently developed a tool called Cluster-Chip that can detect CTCs in the blood and remove them so that they can be studied. Using our Cluster-Chip tool, we want to see how often CTCs are found in the blood, and in which MB patients we find them in. Next, we want to see exactly what CTCs look like, what they are made of, and if they are different from the rest of the brain tumor. Finally, we want to see whether the number, the appearance or the make-up of CTCs in the blood can tell us if the tumor will go on to spread to the brain and if the patient will die of their disease. We will study 25 patients with MB and collect their blood at different times throughout their treatment. This information will help us to understand how MB cancer spreads and how to better treat MB tumor spread.

Location: Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University - Georgia
Proposal: Circulating Tumor Cell Clusters as a Novel Biomarker for Medulloblastoma Treatment
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