Brain tumors are the largest group of solid tumours and the leading cause of cancer-related death in childhood. The most devastating are pediatric high grade astrocytoma (pHGA) including diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG). These are incurable tumours with a median survival under two years. They respond poorly to conventional therapy and drug trials based on adult HGAs have not succeeded. The discovery of recurrent histone mutations (H3K27M and H3.3G34R) in pHGA by us and others provided important clues regarding the role of epigenetic in the pathogenesis of these cancers. But despite these important genetic findings, there is still no effective treatment for these children. The Hawkins lab is particularly interested in understanding what drives these tumours and how we can use this information to develop new therapies.
This research could not happen without international collaboration and the understanding of families that tissue donation is so important to move the field forward. We have an ongoing DIPG tissue collection protocol. Please contact us for further details.
For additional information on some of the projects currently ongoing in our lab, please see the links below.