Brain Tumor Research

Through discovery, innovation and collaboration, researchers at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta are investigating new avenues regarding the metastasis of medulloblastoma as well as safer, more effective methods of treatment for children with brain tumors.

Clinical and Translational Research

  • Targeted Therapeutics
    • Targeted therapeutics involves the discovery of new drugs (targets) aimed at modifying the inappropriate behavior of cancer cells. Our physicians are currently conducting clinical trials to test identified targeted therapeutics for children with brain tumors.
  • Genomic Biomarkers
    • Insights into the biology of pediatric brain tumors have led to clinical trials to test identified targeted therapeutics for children.
  • Nanotechnology
    • Children’s is home to the first Center for Pediatric Nanomedicine in the nation. In conjunction with Emory, Georgia Tech and Morehouse, physicians and engineers will develop targeted, molecular-sized nanoparticles as part of a unique approach to treating pediatric diseases, such as pediatric brain tumors. Nanomedicine has the potential to profoundly improve, if not completely revolutionize, the treatment, care and ultimate cure of childhood diseases and conditions.
  • Find a clinical trial

Clinical and Translational Researchers

Brain Tumor Research (4 Related Videos)

Brain Tumor ResearchView Pediatric ResearchView Clinical Research View EUREKA Grant View
Dr. Tobey MacDonald discusses research efforts for the Brain Tumor Program at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center.

    A novel bioengineering solution aimed at pediatric brain tumors could someday help eradicate almost any kind of tumor. This solution was recognized by the NIH with one of only seven EUREKA grants awarded by the National Cancer Institute. Learn more.


Basic Research

  • Regulation of Medulloblastoma Metastasis (therapeutic target)
    • Dr. Tobey MacDonald is working to develop a drug therapy that stops the spread of medulloblastoma as an alternative to the often-damaging whole brain radiation therapy that now follows surgery to remove a brain tumor. Currently, the research is focused specifically on medulloblastoma, however, if the approach is successful, it could potentially be applied to any kind of tumor anywhere in the body. Learn more
  • Oncogenic Signaling in Medulloblastoma
    • Dr. Robert Castellino is conducting research in hopes of finding a gentler cure for medulloblastoma by focusing on the gene called wild-type p53-induced phosphatase—abbreviated as WIP1. Learn more

Basic Researchers

Recent Publications

  • Abouantoun TJ, Castellino RC, MacDonald TJ.  Sunitinib induces PTEN expression and inhibits PDGFR signaling and migration of medulloblastoma cells.  J Neurooncol 2010.  [Epub ahead of print.]  PMID: 20524040 [PubMed – in process]  PMCID: PMMC2997175.
  • Aguilera D,   Tomita T, Goldman S, Fangusaro J.  Incidental resolution of radiation induced Cavernous Hemangioma (RICH) of the brain following the use of bevacizumab in a child with recurrent medulloblastoma. Pediatr Neurosurg. 2010;46(4):303-7. Epub 2010 Dec 30.PMID: 21196797
  • Aguilera D, Goldman S, Fangusaro F. Bevacizumab and Irinotecan in the treatment of children with recurrent /refractory medulloblastoma.  Pediatr Blood Cancer 2010; 9999:1-4.
  • Aguilera DA, Mazewski C, Schniederjan MJ, Boydston W, MacDonald TJ.  Neurofibromatosis-2 and spinal cord ependymomas: Report of 2 cases and review of the literature.  Childs Nerv Syst  2010. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 21132433.
  • Beauchamp EM, Ringer L, Sajwan KP, Hall MD, Peaceman D, Ozdemirli M, Rodriguez O, MacDonald TJ, Albanese C, Toretsky JA, Oren A.  Arsenic Trioxide inhibits childhood cancer growth by blocking Hedgehog/GLI pathway.  J Clin Invest 2010 [Epub ahead of print.] doi:10.1172/JCI42874.
  • Becher OJ, Hambardzumyan D, Walker T, Nazarian J, Albrecht S, Huse JT, Jabado N, MacDonald TJ, Holland EC. (2010) Preclinical evaluation of radiation and perifosine in a genetically and histologically accurate model of brainstem glioma. Cancer Res 2010;70:2548-57. 
  • Castellino RC, Barwick BG, Schniederjan M, Buss MC, Becher O, Hambardzumyan D, MacDonald TJ, Brat DJ, Durden DL. Heterozygosity for Pten promotes tumorigenesis in a mouse model of medulloblastoma. PLoS One 5:e10849, 2010. PMCID2877103.  
  • Das CM, Taylor H, Aguilera D, Wolff JE, Zage PE and Gopalakrishnan V. Chromatin remodeling at the topoisomerase II-beta promoter is associated with enhanced sensitivity to etoposide in human neuroblastoma cell lines. Eur J Cancer. 2010 Oct;46(15):2771-80.PMID: 20886683.
  • Fangusaro J, Van Den Berghe C, Tomita T, Rajaram V, Aguilera D, Goldman S. Evaluating the Incidence of Microspcopic Metastatic Dissemination and Evaluating the Utility of Lumbar Cerebro-Spinal Fluid (CSF) Samples in Children with Newly Diagnosed Intracranial Ependymoma: The Chicago Children’s Memorial Experience.  J Neurooncol. 2010 Nov 1. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 21038109
  • Gilman AL, Jacobsen C, Bunin N, Levine J, Goldman F, Bendel A, Joyce M, Anderson P, Rozans M, Wall DA, MacDonald TJ, Simon S, Kadota RP.  Phase I Study of Tandem High-dose Chemotherapy with Autologous Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Rescue for Children with Recurrent Brain Tumors:A Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Consortium Study. Pediatr Blood Cancer 2010. [Epub ahead of print]  DOI: 10.1002/pbc.22899.
  • Katherine E. Warren, Stewart Goldman, Ian F. Pollack, Jason Fangusaro, Paula Schaiquevich, Clinton F. Stewart, Dana Wallace, Susan M. Blaney, Roger Packer, Tobey MacDonald,  Regina Jakacki, James M. Boyett, Larry E. Kun. (2011) A Phase I Trial of Lenalidomide (CC-5013, Revlimid) in Pediatric Patients with Recurrent, Refractory or Progressive Primary CNS Tumors: A Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium Study PBTC-018. J Clin Oncol 2011;29:324-9.
  • Smith C, Santi M, Rushing E, Cornelison R, MacDonald TJ, Vukmanovic S. Characterization of signaling function and expression of HLA class I molecules in medulloblastoma.  J Neurooncol 2010.  (Epub ahead of print.)  DOI: 10.1007/s11060-010-0378-3.
  • Warren KE, Goldman S, Pollack IF, Fangusaro J, Schaiquevish P, Stewarrt CF, Wallace D, Blaney SM, Packer R, MacDonald T, Jakacki R, Boyett JM, Kun LE.  A Phase I Trial of Lenalidomide (CC-5013, Revlimid) in Pediatirc Patients with Recurrent, Refractory or Progressive Primary CNS Tumors: A Pediatric Brain Tumor consortium Study PBTC-018.  J Clin Oncol 2010 [Epub ahead of print.] Dec 13, 2010. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2010.31.3601.
  • Yuan L, Santi M, Rushing EJ, Cornelison R, MacDonald TJ.  ERK activation of p21 activated  kinase-1 (Pak1) is critical for medulloblastoma cell migration. Clin Exp Metastasis  2010;27:481-491.

Research Collaborations

The Aflac Cancer Center Neuro-Oncology Program conducts leading-edge research in conjunction with the following local, regional and national organizations: