Uncovering the genetic puzzles behind pediatric brain tumors is at the heart of the mission of the Center for Data-Driven Discovery in Biomedicine (D3b) at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). The Children’s Brain Tumor Network (CBTN), a multi-institutional research program for brain tumor research with its operations center located at D3b, has collected tumor samples from patients from around the world. With funding from the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Children’s Cancer Data Initiative, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), D3b will obtain molecular characterization of thousands of these brain tumor samples, providing an unprecedented level of insight into devastating cancers and paving the way The way for future therapeutic interventions.
In lieu of a traditional monetary grant, the X01 Genotyping and Sequencing Resource Access Program provides critical NIH-supported resources that investigators need to conduct their research. This program will support the molecular characterization of more than 3000 germline samples and more than 1500 tumor samples in all pediatric brain tumor types collected by D3b through CBTN since 2011. This characterization process will prioritize the most aggressive tumor types, supporting research for those Types of cancers where there is a lack of existing data. Prior to the X01 programme, approximately 1,000 of the more than 4,200 patient-derived samples had been characterized within the CBTN biobank located in D3b since 2017.
With molecular data derived from a quarter of the research participants who have donated brain tumor tissue to date, CBTN has been able to support the launch of more than 150 data science-based investigations. Now, with the complete genome sequencing of this entire group available, the potential for new insights into the biology of childhood brain cancer cannot be overstated.”
Adam Resnick, PhD, co-director of the D3b Center at CHOP and scientific co-chair of CBTN
Since childhood brain tumors are not common enough for any one research center to interview enough patients with the same diagnosis to collect the amount of samples or data needed to conduct objective research, collaborations such as CBTN plays an important role in driving the pace of progress. The more data available to researchers, the greater the potential to gain new insights that lead to breakthroughs in treatment.
said Jay Storm, co-director of the D3b Center, chief of neurosurgery at CHOP and principal investigator for CBTN. “With this partnership, the National Cancer Institute/NIH and the Children’s Cancer Data Initiative have opened an entirely new era in research.”
Data from this set of samples – generously provided by patients and their families over several years – will be made available along with other collections collected as part of NCI initiatives, including Therapeuticly Applicable Research to Create Effective Therapies (TARGET) and Children’s MATCH (Molecular Analysis of Treatment Choice), as well as the Gabriella Miller Pediatric Research Program of the National Institutes of Health (Kids First) Joint Fund. Kids First is a collaborative pediatric research effort with the goal of understanding the genetic causes and links between childhood cancer and skeletal birth defects. In addition, approximately 300 CBTN samples will be differentiated from diffuse medial glioma (DMG) and atypical teratoma (ATRT)–two tumors that affect the central nervous system and brain–through a new partnership with the Count Me In initiative.
The sequencing of this project is supported by the NCI Childhood Cancer Data Initiative under award number 1X01CA267587-01, and will be conducted at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University.
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia