Funded Research

Characterization of the Brain Tumor Microenvironment Proteome
Principal Investigator(s):
  • McDonnell Pediatric Cancer Center
Award Mechanism:
Interdisciplinary Research Initiative
Project Period:
2/1/2009 - 1/31/2011
Total Amount:
R. Reid Townsend
Pediatric oncologists have known for a long time that the way a brain tumor grows, and therefore how a child with a brain tumor does, is determined in part by the brain region in which the tumor arises. This contribution of brain region to the clinical course goes beyond whether a more or less important part of the brain is involved. Instead, it is clear that brain region can also influence whether a tumor exhibits a more or less aggressive pattern of growth. From these observations, one can conclude that factors derived from the brain influence the growth of brain tumors. Understanding how the brain regulates brain tumor growth would advance understanding of brain tumor biology and support novel approaches to cure in which the tumor-promoting functions of the brain are targeted. Drs. Rubin and Townsend will utilize proteomic analysis, a technology that allows researchers to identify and quantify proteins, to analyze samples derived from different brain regions, with and without experimental brain tumors. In this fashion the investigators will determine how the presence of a brain tumor changes the brain around it and what the differences are in the response to a brain tumor between different regions of the brain. Defining these differences will extend understanding of this critical mechanism for the regulation of brain tumor growth and will identify targets for a novel approach to brain tumor therapy that addresses the functions of the surrounding brain rather than the tumor itself.