Dr. Anat Erdreich-Epstein – Translational Research Grant
Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
Dr. Anat Erdreich-Epstein is a physician-scientist and pediatric oncologist with a major laboratory research commitment. She seeks to understand the biology of brain tumors, now the most deadly form of pediatric cancer, in order to create new and better treatments against them. Her focus in this grant is to better understand the biology of medulloblastomas, the most common malignant brain tumors in children, in order to find new ways to approach its treatment.
Dr. Epstein and her lab team recently identified that levels of PID1, discovered only in 2006 and never before linked to cancer, are highly correlated with length of survival of children with medulloblastomas and adults with gliomas. She further found that PID1 has growth-inhibitory effects on brain tumor cells from three different types of brain tumors of children and adults: gliomas, medulloblastomas and atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumors (ATRT). Her team is currently working to understand the molecular mechanisms by which PID1 functions in cancer and in brain tumors, in order to utilize this knowledge in development of novel therapies.
With support from Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation, Dr. Epstein and her group will investigate the role of PID1 in regulation of medulloblastoma growth. They hypothesize that PID1 affects the brain microenvironment in which the medulloblastoma tumors grow. They think this may be by suppressing the function of a tumor‐promoting protein that is well known in other cancers, but until now was not thought to have a role in medulloblastomas. This is important since there are effective drugs that target this protein, which are already in use against other cancers.
Over the three years of this proposal, the group will determine the effect of PID1 on medulloblastoma microenvironment, the effect of PID1 on the function of this tumor‐promoting gene, and the effect of this tumor-promoting gene in medulloblastoma growth.
The results of this work will inform on critical aspects in medulloblastoma biology and may lead to novel approaches against treatment of medulloblastoma and/or possibly repurposing of existing medicines for it.
We are deeply grateful to Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation and its supporters for believing, as we do, that a cure for pediatric cancer is possible through the spark of scientific discovery.