Institut de recherche du Centre universitaire de santé McGill
Domaine : cancer
Programme Chaires de recherche
Our research program focuses on brain tumors in children. One child in 287 will develop cancer before the age of 15 years. While overall survival has improved considerably over the past three decades for blood cancers, other types of tumors remain incurable and / or induce morbid effects that impact the quality of life of children who survive. High-grade astrocytomas (HGA), the object of our research, are particularly lethal brain cancer, with only 10% survival at 3 years after diagnosis. This remains the rule despite considerable efforts, including surgery and radiation therapy. Recently, we identified mutations in important genes (histone 3) in a significant number of children with these tumors. These histones are involved in the regulation of development of many tissues including brain. These mutations may explain why this cancer is still not responding to treatment.
Our research program aims to understand and model how these abnormal histones induce the formation of deadly or debilitating tumors. We aim to identify the downstream targets of these mutations that may be targeted in the near future and improve the survival of children and young adults with HGA. We also aim to offer the health care teams with tools to identify these mutations and assign children to the best treatment for their tumor type. Our experimental models will improve our understanding of this new model of tumor induction and test known drugs that could counteract the effects of these mutations. Our ultimate goal is to improve survival and quality of life of children and young adults with these devastating tumors.