Eli Bar and Qian Chu both presented posters at the 2011 Society for Neuro-Oncology Annual Meeting. They are shown here in front of Qian’s poster on in vivo targeting of Notch in the “late breaking” section.
Eric Raabe received a 2011 Young Investigator Award from Alex’s Lemonade Stand for his work on pediatric brain tumors. Shown below are Eric, Charles Eberhart and Marianne Hutt with ALSF representative Kay Schaul. Thanks to ALSF and all the other organizations who support brain tumor research!
Laura Asnaghi took part in a bike ride to support ocular melanoma research (the Lab Ride). She rode from the DC mall to Bethesda Maryland and raised several hundred dollars from local researchers. The money will go to the Ocular Melanoma Foundation. Way to go Laura!
We had a number of excellent undergraduate students work in the laboratory this summer. Lauren Huey from UNC worked on validating the results of a drug screen with Eli Bar. Melanie Weingart (Duke) worked for her second summer with Eric Raabe on brain tumor models based on human neural stem cells. David Scherr (U Maryland) worked with Eric for his third summer. Pictures of Melanie and David are posted below. We also have two Johns Hopkins Undergraduates who worked in the laboratory over the summer and who will continue to participate in research projects in the fall: Isabella Taylor and Michael Lin.
A study led by Brent Orr has just been published in the Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology showing the the oncogene YAP1 is associated with the growth of malignant gliomas. He won an award at the 2011 Pathology Department Young Investigators Day for this work.
Johns Hopkins researchers have found a likely explanation for the slow growth of the most common childhood brain tumor, pilocytic astrocytoma. Using tests on a new cell-based model of the tumor, they concluded that the initial process of tumor formation switches on a growth-braking tumor-suppressor gene, in a process similar to that seen in skin moles. The findings, published in the June 1 issue of Clinical Cancer Research, could lead to better ways of evaluating and treating pilocytic astrocytomas. Eric Raabe led the study, and a full press release can be found in the links below.
Laura Asnaghi’s poster on the role of the Notch pathway ligand Jagged2 in uveal melanoma won awards at the Wilmer Research Day. She also presented this work at the 2011 AACR meeting (photo below).
In collaboration with the laboratory of Nick Gaiano, our group has published a study showing that Notch3 can efficiently induce glioma formation in the optic nerve and retina, but not in the brain. Other ocular tumors and abnormalities were also noted. This work suggests that glial precursors in the eye and optic nerve may be intrinsically different from those in the brain. The paper “Notch3 activation promotes invasive glioma formation in a tissue site-specific manner” was published in Cancer Research, and Tarran Pierfelice was the first author.
Kah Jing Lim, a graduate student in the laboratory, recently published a paper which showed that curcumin, the compound which gives the spice turmeric its yellow color, can kill brain tumor cells. The research uses an advanced “nanoparticle” formulation which should improve the ability of the curcumin to travel through the body and reach the cancer. A commentary on our paper was published by the journal, with a link below.
Dr. Eric Raabe, a fellow in our laboratory, is having his head shaved to raise money for St. Baldrick’s, a foundation dedicated to funding research into cures for childhood cancer. They sponsoring events in which volunteers collect donations from friends, family and colleagues and have their heads shaved in solidarity with children undergoing chemotherapy. Our local event will be held on March 6, 2011 at Martin’s East, starting at 1 pm. Eric is trying to raise $2,000, and the link to the website where you can pledge to support him is:
He will also be the keynote speaker, and will be in the first group or two to get shaved around 2 pm. It is a carnival-like atmosphere, with lots of kids, games, and food. Last year, they raised $80,000, and this year they are shooting for $100,000. Please support Eric and pediatric cancer research. (Update on March 7, 2011: The event is now finished, and raised more than $90,000 for childrens cancer research. Thanks to all who contributed. Before and after pictures of Eric are below). Dr. Raabe is a St. Baldrick’s Fellow. http://www.stbaldricks.org/