CERN Investigators Publish Paper On Screening To Identify Treatment Leads for Ependymoma

— Categories: CERN Research Articles     Posted on September 13, 2011

In a very exciting breakthrough, a team of CERN Foundation researchers led by Richard Gilberston, Ph.D., M.D., Director of Comprehensive Cancer Center and EVP of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Co-Principal Investigator of the CERN Foundation, have identified new treatment leads for ependymoma.

In their recent Cancer Cell publication, the authors were able to use their new accurate model of a subgroup of ependymoma (that they published last year in Nature) to perform high-throughput drug screening of over 5500 compounds. This initial screen pinpointed around 600 of those compounds that looked to have promising activity against ependymoma. Prior to this study, there were no mouse models or cell lines that of ependymomas leaving researchers and clinicians with no choice but to empirically select and test, a specific drug in patients. In most cases, this process could take up to 5 years, potentially exposing patients to inactive therapies and wasting valuable time and resources. One of the major benefit of the approach pioneered by these CERN investigators is that it will allow new treatments to be identified for trial in specific patient populations before even entering the clinic. Furthermore, the new model allows clinicians to work out how to dose drugs effectively to ensure the right amount gets to the tumor before the drug is tested in patients. This will allow clinicians to provide new options to patients much quicker than was previously thought possible and provide them with a rational basis for drug choosing.

As one of the researchers on the team, Jennifer Atkinson, Ph.D., stated, “In the past 5 months we have been able to identify data that would have taken us 50 years of clinical trials to produce.” Not only are we going to be able to tailor a drug to meet the needs of a patient diagnosed within a specific subgroup, but this research will allow us to provide clinicians with more informed data relative to dosing.

With the support of our CERN Foundation researchers and clinicians, we get closer every day to finding a cure and superior treatment for ependymoma.

To read the Cancer Cell Article, click here.

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