St. Jude Research

Update:  May 2010
Since February 2006, researchers at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital have been able to collect 46 tumor samples from children with diffuse brainstem glioma (Tyler's was the first).  This protocol had an initial duration of 4 years but a modification will be made to allow for collection and analysis of tumor samples for 4 more years.

The formal objectives of this study are:

1.1       Primary Objectives

  • 1.1.1  To perform genome-wide analysis of DNA gains and losses, and RNA expression in tumor samples and normal tissue in patients with diffuse brainstem glioma
    • - To identify regions of genomic gain or loss using either array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) or single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) arrays
    • - To investigate genome-wide expression patterns of RNA derived from tumor samples and normal tissue via Affymetrix gene expression-profiling
  • 1.1.2   To validate the results of the genome-wide analysis by conducting further evaluation of candidate genes or by investigating the expression of relevant gene products at the RNA and protein levels
    • - To perform analysis of mutations in candidate tumor-suppressor genes and oncogenes using direct sequence analysis of tumor DNA and to confirm the tumor-specific nature of these mutations by analyzing the correspondent constitutional DNA
    • - To confirm genomic gains or losses identified via objective by means of fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) performed on tissue microarray (TMA) using non-neoplastic brain tissue from each patient as control when available
    • - To explore protein expression patterns identified by immunohistochemistry or western blot in this study, and to compare to normal brainstem tissue

The collaborative efforts of Tylerís Treehouse, Inc. and St. Jude Childrenís Research Hospital has initiated a unique research protocol entitled: The Comprehensive Molecular Analysis of Tumor Samples Derived from Patients with Brainstem Glioma. This unique study, led by Dr. Alberto Broniscer, hopes to address the current lack of knowledge for this terrible tumor. The ultimate goal is to identify specific molecular targets for treatment.

A fund earmarked for brainstem glioma research, started in response to Tylerís death and by Tylerís Treehouse, Inc., has been established within the Division of Neuro-Oncology at St. Jude. Thus far, over the past several months, this money has been helpful in facilitating the collection of other tissue samples. More specifically, so that high-quality specimens are available for research, this fund has helped subsidize non-local autopsies of patients with brainstem gliomas and any procedures required to get the tissue collected outside of Memphis to St. Jude laboratories in the best possible condition.

Click HERE for more information on this study.