NBTS, in collaboration with the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada, is proud to announce a 2011 Developmental Neurobiology RFA - 2011 Developmental Neurobiology Application and Guidelines. The deadline for this RFA has passed. For more information, please contact Carrie Treadwell.
The discovery and development of effective therapies for pediatric brain tumors that significantly prolong the lives of patients but that do not have long-term adverse effects is a formidable challenge. While the life expectancy prognosis for some pediatric brain tumors is dismal, great therapeutic strides have been made with others through the use of effective interventional surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
These survival rate strides have not come without their detrimental costs to the patients and their families. Long-term survivors of pediatric brain tumors generally display what are referred to as late effects from their treatments. These include severe cognitive (e.g. thinking, problem solving, reasoning, decision-making, attention, memory), psychosocial (e.g. behavioral, emotional, social adjustment), and endocrine (i.e. hormonal) deficits which may not manifest for years following tumor diagnosis and treatment, but which are chronic and progressive. This is referred to as “growing into deficit.” General intellect as measured by IQ declines and that decline significantly increases with time. Deficits often result in academic failure and inability for adolescents to graduate from high school. As patients become adults, their deficits affect their ability for employment, their incomes, their ability for independent living, the likelihood they will marry, their emotional health and overall quality of life.
Pediatric brain tumors arise as the result of normal brain developmental processes gone wrong. Conversely, pediatric brain tumors and their treatment adversely effect the normal brain development that continues postnatally through infancy, childhood, adolescence and into adulthood. Developmental neurobiology is the field of study of normal brain development and function, and can be instrumental in the understanding of the genesis of brain tumors and the cells from which brain tumors arise. This understanding will enhance the ability to discover effective therapeutic approaches to pediatric brain tumors.
The evaluation of the effect of newly discovered therapeutic approaches, as well as established approaches and their modifications, on the continuing normal development of the brain is critical to determining the potential adverse effects of therapies on that normal brain development.
Developmental neurobiology is an investigational link that ties together and balances these essential components of pediatric brain tumor research that are required for the discovery and development of effective brain tumor therapies with minimal adverse effects on the brain’s continuing normal development.