Funded Research

Survivors of Pediatric Brain Tumors: Biomarkers of Cognitive Dysfunction
Principal Investigator(s):
  • McDonnell Pediatric Cancer Center
Award Mechanism:
Large-Scale Interdisciplinary Research Initiative
Project Period:
7/1/2016 - 6/30/2020
Total Amount:

Cognitive deficits are the greatest obstacle to full functional recovery in survivors of pediatric brain tumors. These deficits are deeply multifactorial but current approaches to clinical assessment and investigation fail to capture, or assimilate, this complexity. Consequently, patient benefit is compromised. This Large Scale Interdisciplinary Research Initiative will apply cutting edge neuroimaging and advanced computational analyses in a precision medicine approach to this critically important problem. This approach will identify and validate those biomarkers of cognitive deficits that, in aggregate, provide sensitive and truly personalized metrics for improving cognitive outcomes for the ever-growing population of pediatric brain tumor survivors.

·         Identify reliable peri-diagnostic estimators of cognition and brain function in children with newly diagnosed brain tumors

·         Determine whether multiplexed analyses of brain function and cognition provide sensitive predictors of cognitive recovery in children with posterior fossa tumors.

Success will manifest as a transformative, single patient-level approach to outcome prediction, which has the potential to revolutionize pediatric neuro-oncological care. Further, the strategy may be paradigmatic for other complex patient care scenarios. The fundamental idea comports with the NIH’s precision medicine initiative; thus, we anticipate ongoing support through NIH funding mechanisms for future studies in which we specifically test new hypotheses generated from these novel studies and approaches.

Dennis Barbour, M.D., Ph.D., Nico Dosenbach, M.D., Ph.D., David Limbrick, M.D., Ph.D., Stephanie Perkins, M.D., and Joshua Shimony, M.D., Ph.D.