SNO 2022 – GFAC Presents First Scientific Posters
Gift from a Child was well represented in Tampa, Florida at the 2022 annual meeting for the Society for Neuro-oncology (SNO). This annual meeting is the largest national gathering of neuro-oncology professionals.
The week kicked off with education sessions, co-chaired by one of GFAC’s PIs, Dr. Michelle Monje, of Stanford. The focus of her track was the intersection of neuroscience and neuro- oncology. Exciting new research was discussed, looking at the reciprocal relationship between tumors and healthy brain cells. We learned about these connections at synapses (where brain cells talk to each other) and down to the cellular level. Cellular and synaptic activity can influence the development and growth of tumors, making them an exciting potential target for future therapies. Later in the week, Dr. Monje also received the Victor Levin Award and Lecture: Brain Cancer Neuroscience. We would like to congratulate Dr.Monje on another well deserved award and recognition by her peers.
At the same time as the cancer neuroscience education tract, a second tract on survivorship was running. This was co-chaired by GFAC collaborator, Dr. Mariella Filbin of Dana Farber Cancer Institute. In these educational presentations, community building, distress, and cognitive impacts amongst survivors were expertly addressed. This shed light on often overlooked topics in the brain cancer community
In collaboration with Alex’s Lemonade Stand, Swifty Foundation (funder of GFAC) co-funded one of the early career researchers, Dr. Zulekha Qadeer. Dr. Qadeer won an award for and presented her abstract titled “ DDDR-33 – Targeting TGF² pathway dependencies in group 3 medulloblastoma”. Dr. Qadeer is a Postdoctoral Scholar in the esteemed William Weiss Laboratory at UCSF. Her work looks into pathways that could be therapeutic targets in treating Group 3 medulloblastoma. Group 3 medulloblastomas have poor overall survival and no targeted therapy. Finding these pathways could change that.
GFAC had the opportunity to present two abstracts of our own findings. They were both presented by our scientific intern, Nicole Lyons. One abstract, titled “A Call to Action to Increase Access to Post-Mortem Brain Tumor Donations: Gift From a Child “ gave an overview of the development and success of GFAC’s standard operating procedures. We were thrilled to share our latest data, that we have had 195 (now over 200) successful post-mortem brain tumor tissue donations from over 50 (now over 55) different institutions since 2019. The second abstract, titled “Postmortem Tissue Donation: Giving Families the Ability to Choose” presented the results from a survey of 121 families who lost a child to brain cancer. Highlights from the survey: 98% of families were satisfied with their decision to donate post-mortem tissue and believe it is the family’s right to make this decision for themselves. If clinicians do not ask, they are making the decision to NOT donate for families. Helping families make this one last informed consent needs to become a part of end-of-life care for children who don’t survive their cancer.
Overall, SNO was a fantastic opportunity to connect with neuro-oncology professionals, both familiar and new. We are grateful for the chance to share our experiences and knowledge with the larger community in the hope of helping future patients.