Navigating monstrous anticancer obstacles
A new PNAS paper from geneticist Tamara Caspary’s lab identifies a possible drug target in medulloblastoma, the most common pediatric brain tumor. Dr. Caspary is a faculty member in the GMB and NS programs.
Standard treatment for children with medulloblastoma consists of surgery in combination with radiation and chemotherapy. Alternatives are needed, because survivors can experience side effects such as neurocognitive impairment. One possibility has emerged in the last decade: inhibitors of the Hedgehog pathway, whose aberrant activation drives growth in medulloblastoma.
Caspary’s lab studies the Hedgehog pathway in early embryonic development. In the PNAS paper, former GMB graduate student Sarah Bay and postdoc Alyssa Long show that targeting a downstream part of the Hedgehog pathway may be a way to avoid problems presented by both radiation/chemo and existing Hedgehog inhibitors.
Rick Kahn was also mentioned in this story. Dr. Kahn is a faculty member in the BCDB and CB programs.