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Children's Brain Tumor Tissue Consortium

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Recent advances in breast cancer, colon cancer, and melanoma treatment show the importance of detailed molecular analysis of tumor samples to find new therapeutic targets. By comparison, progress in the molecular characterizations of childhood brain tumors is much slower. The majority of these studies focus on medulloblastoma and high-grade gliomas but neglect other important childhood tumor histologies. To address this problem, the CBTTC has been set up as a multi-institutional, collaborative childhood brain tumor tissue research platform that will meet current needs for high-quality brain tumor biopsy samples, comprehensive clinical data, and new tumor model development.

The CBTTC collects and analyzes all types of childhood brain tumors. All tumor tissue analysis, genetic and protein, is performed at The Children╩╝s Hospital of Philadelphia using the facilities of the Center for Genomic Analysis. Tissue micro arrays will be generated from as many samples as possible for use in biomarker follow-up and validation studies. Protein extracts will be prepared from blood, cerebrospinal fluid, and tumor samples for proteomic studies. All data--genomic, pathologic and clinical--will be encoded using a common de-identification system to allow crossplatform comparisons.

In Layman's Terms

In order for researchers to develop new treatments, they need tissue samples and all available clinical data on the patient's history and treatment.  Due to developments in medical imaging such as the MRI, fewer and fewer autopsies are performed on brain tumor patients because the cause of death can be determined from the images and clinical history alone.  Biopsies are often performed on brain tumors, but they are difficult and sometimes dangerous to perform.  Biopsy samples are also very small and may not be representative of the tumor as a whole.  Their small size also limits the amount of research that can be performed on them.  Fewer than 10% of families donate brain and/or spinal cord tissue after death.

This raises the two issues that our foundation is focused on: a) the importance of tissue donation and b) the importance of making the precious resource of tumor tissue and related data available to the widest number of researchers.  To help solve this problem, the CBTTC was formed by, among others, Dr. Peter Phillips who was Christopher's Neuro Oncologist and one of the foremost researchers into pediatric brain tumors.