Pediatric brain tumours are the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in children. The only treatments are aggressive surgery, radiation and non-specific chemotherapy-and only about half of patients survive. Dr. Vijay Ramaswamy, Canada Research Chair in Pediatric Neuro-Oncology, seeks to better understand why childhood brain tumours are so resistant to current therapies and to develop more effective treatments.
He and his research team are using functional genomics, high-throughput chemical genetic screening and genomic profiling of recurrent childhood tumours to identify how these cancers evade current therapies. In particular, they are developing potential new drug targets for medulloblastoma and ependymoma, two types of cancerous brain tumours in children. Ultimately, Ramaswamy and his team aim to improve both survival rates and quality of life for children diagnosed with high-risk pediatric brain cancer.