Biology of Pediatric Cancer

At the most basic level, childhood cancer is a perpetual threat, boldly challenging scientists to understand its complexities. Investigators are working to expand the understanding of childhood cancer and to improve strategies for its diagnosis and treatment. Current projects focus on biology and therapy of rhabdomyosarcoma and other childhood tumors, chemotherapy of childhood solid tumors, regulation of alternative pre-mRNA splicing, regulation and function of tumor suppressor genes, and oncolytic viral therapy in pediatric brain tumors.

Faculty Focused on Biology of Pediatric Cancer Research

Learn more about the Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Diseases.

Latest Findings in Biology of Pediatric Cancer Research

LLL12 Inhibits Tumor Blood Vessel Formation
STAT3 inhibitors have been shown to reduce tumor micro-vessel density in tumors, but haven’t been shown to stop the formation of new tumor blood vessels.  This study provides the first evidence that the STAT3 inhibitor, LLL12, inhibits tumor blood vessel formation in vitro and in vivo.

Access an abstract of this study: Anti-Angiogenic Activity of a Small Molecule STAT3 Inhibitor LLL12PLoS One. 2012;7(4):e35513. Epub 2012 Apr 17.

Treatment of Vestibular Schwannoma Cells With ErbB Inhibitors
Recent evidence has implicated increased ErbB family receptor tyrosine kinase signaling in vestibular schwannoma development.  This study supports the belief that chemotherapeutic targeting of ErbB3 may be a novel means of inhibiting vestibular schwannoma growth.

Access an abstract of this study: Treatment of Vestibular Schwannoma Cells With ErbB InhibitorsOtol Neurotol. 2012 Jan 4. [Epub ahead of print]

Muscle Induced to Regenerate May Support Tumor Development
Investigators previously reported that mice with muscular dystrophy develop embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma (eRMS) with a low incidence after 1 year of age and that almost all such tumors contain cancer-associated p53 mutations. These studies further suggest that consideration should be given to the potential of the muscle microenvironment to support tumor development in regenerative therapies for myopathies.

Access an abstract of this study: Induction of a regenerative microenvironment in skeletal muscle is sufficient to induce embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma in p53-deficient miceJ Pathol. 2012 Jan;226(1):40-9. doi: 10.1002/path.2996.

IGF-2 May Reverse Angiogenesis, Its Role in Tumor Progression
Angiogenesis, the growth of new capillary blood vessels in the body, is an important natural process in the body used for healing and reproduction.  Disturbed angiogenesis can lead to cancer development.  For the first time, this study reveals a role for IGF-1R signaling in angiogenesis and direct activity of SCH717454. IGF-2 overcame these effects.  Since many childhood cancers secrete IGF-2, these findings suggest that IGF-2 plays a role in tumor progression.  

Access an abstract of this study:  Potent Inhibition of Angiogenesis by the IGF-1 Receptor-Targeting Antibody SCH717454 is Reversed by IGF-2Mol Cancer Ther. 2011 Dec 21. [Epub ahead of print]

Current Biology of Pediatric Cancer Grants

Rapamycin-Induced Selective Apoptosis in Malignant Cells, National Institutes of Health, (Houghton, Peter)

Coordinately regulated alternative spilicing in DNA damage and cancer, National Institutes of Health, (Dawn Chandler)

Novel Treatments for NF2-Associated Schwannomas and Meningiomas, Ohio State University Office of Sponsored Programs (Long-Sheng Chang)

Proposal to Test Study Drug in Combination with AZD Study Drug in Models of Pediatric Sarcoma, Anonymous (Peter Houghton)

A Phase 2 Multi-Center, Historically-Controlled Study of Study Drug Added to Standard Chemotherapy in Pediatric Patients with Newly Diagnosed Philadelphia Chromosome Positive Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (Laura Martin)

Translation of Predictive Cancer Biomarkers into Clinical Practice, Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles (Julie Gastier-Foster)

Genomics of Racial Disparities in Childhood Leukemia Outcomes, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (Julie Gastier-Foster)

Analysis of Study Drug Signaling Pathway in PBMC and Tumors at Diagnosis or Recurrence, Children's Hospital Medical Center Cincinnati (Peter Houghton)

Translation of Predictive Cancer Biomarkers into Clinical Practice, Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles (Julie Gastier-Foster)

Novel Small Molecules Disabling the IL-6/IL-6R/GP130 Complex, The Ohio State University Research Foundation (Jiayuh Lin)

Characterization of an Inducible SMN mouse model and the determination of SMA therapeutic intervention points, Association Francaise Contre Les Myopathies (Dawn S. Chandler, PhD)

Phenotypic Determinants in Vestibular Schwannomas, Ohio State University Research Foundation, National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Deafness & Other Communication Disorders (Long-Sheng Chang, PhD)

Study of the IGF-1R Antibody in Pediatric Sarcoma Xenograft Models, Anonymous (Peter Houghton, PhD)

Pediatric Preclinical Testing Program, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute (Peter Houghton, PhD)

Studies of Childhood Solid Tumors, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute (Peter Houghton, PhD)

Target Stat3 in pancreatic cancer using novel small molecule inhibitors, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute (Jiayuh Lin, PhD)

Pelotonia Postdoctoral Fellowship: Dual Targeting of the Type 1 Insulin-like Growth Factor Receptor and its Ligands as an Effective Anti-angiogenic Strategy for Sarcomas, Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center (Peter Houghton, PhD)

Kinetochore Function and Cell Cycle Progression, National Institutes of Health (Katsumi Kitagawa, PhD)