Miriam's Kids Research Fund

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Who is benefiting from your donations

Peter C. Phillips, M.D.Peter C. Phillips, M.D.
Professor of Neurology & Pediatrics-CE
Department of Pediatrics 
Division of Neurology 

Director of the Neuro-Oncology at Children's Hospital. As a pediatric neuro-oncologist , my major research interest is in exploring new therapeutic approaches to treating children with brain tumors. The incidence of pediatric brain tumors has increased over the past two decades, yet increasingly intensive therapeutic strategies to treat children with brain tumors has not led to major improvements in survival. My research also involves efforts to identify new therapeutic targets for brain tumors treatment.

I am investigating several new therapeutic strategies for treating children with brain tumors. These strategies include novel cytotoxic drugs, drug resistance inhibitors, radiosurgery techniques, antiangiogenic agents and new approaches to gene therapy. In addition, my colleagues and I are working to identify the biological characteristics of childhood primitive neuroectodermal tumors that have clinical prognostic significance.

Thomas Curran, PhDThomas Curran, PhD
Deputy Scientific Director    
Department of Pathology

Our research addresses the molecular basis of normal and neoplastic growth in the developing nervous system. We hope that by understanding the normal processes that govern formation of the brain we will uncover new approaches for the treatment of rare but very devastating pediatric brain tumors, Research in the laboratory combines basic approaches with genomics and translational science in a broad-based effort. Our experimental strategies include disease models, cell culture, genomics, human tumor samples, imaging and a range of molecular techniques.

Previously, we identified the reelin gene (Reln) whose protein product is a large extracellular protein that controls cell migration and is secreted by several early populations of neurons in the developing brain. We are now examining the molecular events downstream of Reln that mediate its function. As part of the brain gene expression atlas project (GENSAT), we are also analyzing gene expression in the brain using high-throughput in situ hybridization.

We are taking genomic approaches to identify molecular changes and potential drug targets for several brain tumors including medulloblastoma, atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumors and choroid plexus carcinomas. We developed a model system with a 100 percent incidence of spontaneous medulloblastoma for use in translational studies. Recently, we found that a small molecule inhibitor of the sonic hedgehog (Shh) pathway eliminated even large tumor masses in vivo. We are continuing to analyze the mechanism of action of several anticancer drugs in tumor cells and cancer models.


Miriam's Kids Research Foundation
1079 Townsend Circle
Wayne, PA 19087

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