Defining epigenetic drivers of primary and metastatic medulloblastoma

Medulloblastoma (MB) is the most common childhood brain cancer. Current treatment for these tumors is invasive involving irradiation of the entire brain and spine. Although some types of MB respond well, others have an abysmal prognosis, and the lack of less invasive therapies means that children undergoing treatment suffer from severe developmental defects and reduced quality of life. Since metastasis (cancer cells which leave initial tumor site and travel to other locations in the brain and spine) is the single biggest risk factor for poor prognosis, the Taylor Lab at SickKids is interested in generating metastatic MB cell models and determine how their characteristics differ from non-metastatic MB cells. Types of MB which metastasize frequently are observed to have aberrations in the processes that control gene expression (epigenetic proteins) in the cell. Changes in gene expression can favorably alter the environment in cells to promote uncontrolled growth and ability to metastasize. By collaborating with the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC), we are screening metastatic MB cells with their library of chemical compounds that target epigenetic proteins.

Intern: 
Stephen Armstrong
Faculty Supervisor: 
Michael Taylor
Province: 
Ontario
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