Brain Cancer Research Program
Nicklaus Children's Hospital and Research Institute has initiated pediatric neuro/oncology research as a collaborative effort between the Divisions of Pathology, Hematology/Oncology, Bone Marrow Transplantation and Neurological Surgery. Several investigators from these departments are involved in brain cancer research to improve the brain cancer treatment and disease free survival.
The major focus of the brain cancer research program is to understand the mechanisms behind the failure of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and the reasons for the aggressiveness and invasiveness of brain tumors. The program is investigating the prognostic significance several genetic markers associated with cellular oncogenesis, drug resistance, cell proliferation, angiogenesis, differentiation and programmed cell death (apoptosis). The role of telomerase enzyme in the oncogenesis and aggressive behavior of certain brain tumors is also investigated in this research program. Alternative Medicine Projects include evaluation of the anticancer effects of curcumin and other 'natural' compounds.
Through brain tumor research, our aim is to understand the origin, diagnosis, development and differentiation of brain tumor cells during the process of carcinogenesis. Simultaneously, we plan to translate the brain tumor research findings from evaluation of prognostic factors into the treatment of brain cancer patients.
Clinical trials including stem cell transplantation and anti-angiogenesis protocols are being used for patients with brain tumors. Young children are treated without radiation therapy to avoid late effects.
At only 2 years old, Lacy needed to have a tumor removed from her brain; she also went through six months of chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant. Today, Lacy is cancer free and going to different therapies to continue getting stronger every day.