Project Description

Dr. Saratsis
Translational Research Grant
– Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG)

Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University

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Dr. Saratsis’ Research

Dr. Amanda Saratsis primary research study is entitled, Modifying the Future: A Collaborative Approach to Chromatin Modifications and Related Therapies for the Treatment of Pediatric Brain Tumors

A scientist at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, Dr. Saratsis is investigating the role of chromatin in the development of brain and central nervous system tumors.

The project lead is Amanda Saratsis, MD, Attending Physician in the Division of Neurosurgery at Lurie Children’s and Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Her work centers around chromatin which is a complex of DNA, RNA and proteins called histones that condense to form chromosomes during cell division. Modifications to chromatin structure and function (also called epigenetics) determine which genes will be expressed. Increasing evidence points to altered chromatin biology as a central feature of cancer development and progression.

Research Objectives:
To utilize the multi-disciplinary strength of this group to understand how chromatin modifications promote the development of pediatric central nervous system (CNS) tumors, then apply this understanding to evaluate new therapeutics that target chromatin modifiers.

This bench-to-bedside approach will use clinical observation and patient samples to drive basic science investigation, which will then inform the development of new and novel clinical trials.

Initial research will focus on pediatric high-grade glioma (pHGG) and diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) because children affected by these tumors are in dire need of improved treatment options and outcomes.

This unique research will bring new therapies to clinical trials and improve outcomes for patients with pediatric brain tumors. It has already gained global attention due to the initial findings from the project and the work will be accelerated through generous philanthropic support from the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation.

Lurie Children’s Principal Investigator:
Amanda Saratsis, MD

Co-Investigators from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine:
Rintaro Hashizume, MD, PhD
C. David James, PhD
Ali Shilatifard, PhD
Alexander Stegh, PhD


Some people say that children make up 10% of our cancer population, but they are 100% of our future! ~ Dr. Alex Huang, Case Western