A promise to change the game: Announcing the Chad Carr Pediatric Brain Tumor Center

A promise to change the game: Announcing the Chad Carr Pediatric Brain Tumor Center

A promise to change the game: Announcing the Chad Carr Pediatric Brain Tumor Center

By Bryan Wright 0 Comment October 11, 2019


– I have two boys, and
they’re around the same age. They’re five and eight, and
they’re around the same age that is the average age for
children diagnosed with DIPG. – [Woman] Probably the
most difficult conversation that we have to do as neurosurgeons is to let the parent know
that this tumor exists. – You know, to have this
bomb dropped on them, and I know what it’s like to
sit with a kid in your lap, I know what it’s like to
sit in an emergency room. What must be going through their head? That often catches, sort of
knocks the wind out of me. – [Woman] Probably one of
the most poignant statements that one of the children made to me was, “I want my life to matter.” – [Male] What we have to
do is channel that angst into actually motivating
us to actually go forward. (Uplifting music) – It’s… I don’t know where to start. It’s just been exciting on every front. – [Rajen Mody] In the last
18 months of two years of the existence of this effort, I would say we have made progress that we had not made in the last 10 years. – Where we’re at right now is, to me, where I thought we would have been more five to 10 years from
where the movement started. – And I would say that
even within the last year, the changes, the understanding
about the biology of these tumors that we have now found, has really made a huge difference. – We’re really turning up the pace at which we’re going to beat this thing. [Inspirational Music] – This is because we are
creating an environment that really promotes
the interaction between different scientists – We are partnering with all
the leaders in the field, in DIPG and in Toronto, in
Stanford, and in Germany. – One of the most significant
things that is happening to help, has been the
willingness of families to allow us to get samples of tumor. – Taking that tumor and
banking it, keeping it, developing cell lines, developing
tumor models around it, becomes extremely important to developing ways to treat tumors. – And so some of the tumors that we have, we have sent tumors to other
institutions to do analysis – For example, Chad Carr’s
tumor was studied by more than 20 different
researchers across the world. – We discovered that his
tumor was driven by… – The gene called PTEN – [Rajen Mody] PTEN is what we
call a tumor suppressor gene – It slows the breaks on tumor growth. We could tell that it was
an important part of the story of his tumor in the entire tumor, not just a small part of the tumor, and that allows us to really
make a case to the field, to say PTEN is an important part of that, and you should consider using
therapies that other fields, like the breast cancer
field, are developing. And we are still gathering
information, and each patient is obviously different, but
we have a number of patients who we are very optimistic
about how they’re doing on those treatments. – So there’s many facets
of basic research, that we believe very fundamentally will point to new
therapies for the future. – It matters that we care
about why tumors metabolize certain drugs, certain
sugars in certain ways, because the amount of food
consumed by cancer cells is 100 fold higher than normal cells, we can actually take advantage of this, to now come up with metabolic strategies to actually inhibit these pathways, to kill cancer cells. – We want to get rid of those cells, those cells are growing where they are not supposed to grow, and they are spreading throughout the brain, and so we need to find a way
to get rid of those cells. – About 5 years ago now,
there… people studying ways that cells die,
realized that there is a new form of cell death that’s
called ferroptosis. Ferroptosis is an iron
dependent form of oxidative cell death, in which,
effectively, the cell oxidizes itself to the
point where it explodes. (Inspirational Music) – Well, we’re interested
in killing cancer cells, we’re interested in killing
DIPG cells, and by triggering specific molecular
components within a cell, we’re able to activate the
process of ferroptosis. – [Luigi Franchi] The way
in which we are inducing cell death, by inducing ferroptosis, we believe that it will
promote immune responses against DIPG. – [Rajen Mody] I am just
excited, I am just seeing the wheels in motion for DIPG – [Woman] I think we’ve turned a corner. – So we start with a baseline
high level excitement – Like sometimes hard to
sleep we are so excited, and you have so much data,
that you want to go back to work, and design new
trials, and new therapies, and then put those discoveries into play – And when an idea like this, when an idea about ferroptosis, when we saw the data come
out of the lab and that really stuck, that’s exciting,
that’s high level excitement. – It’s a real, reasonable
prediction to say that we are going to… – To keep this going, to keep
the momentum going forward – And that within our
career, get to that cure that we’re all looking for. – That’s what I hope, and
I know that will happen. (Upbeat Music)

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