POGO proudly announces its current Fellows and their winning projects.
Noelle M. Cullinan, MD
Project Title: Validation of a Prediction Tool for Cancer Predisposition Syndromes and Estimation of the Potential Genetic Predisposition to Subsequent Malignant Neoplasms in Pediatric Cancer Survivors: An Ontario Population-Based Nested Case-Control Study
Principal Investigator: Noelle M. Cullinan, MD
Co-Principal Investigator: Paul Nathan, MD
Co-Investigators Catherine Goudie, MD; Jason Pole, PhD; Anita Villani, MD, MSc; David Malkin, MD
Project Summary: Improvements in pediatric oncology care over time have led to increasing survival rates. A significant proportion of childhood cancer survivors (CCS) develop subsequent malignancies. 10-30% of children with cancer have an underlying cancer predisposition syndrome (CPS) that increases their risk of developing subsequent cancers. This project aims to validate the McGill Interactive Pediatric Oncogenetic Guidelines (MIPOGG) as a prediction tool for CPSs and subsequent cancers, and estimate the potential genetic contribution to the development of subsequent cancers in CCS.
Impact/Relevance: Detection of a CPS, or increased risk of subsequent cancers, in a child with a first cancer is vital for optimizing treatment strategies, enrolling in surveillance protocols and improving patient outcomes through earlier detection and treatment of subsequent cancers. When validated, the MIPOGG will be a powerful resource for those who care for children with cancer.
Catherine Goudie, MD, FRCPC
Project Title: Identifying Children at Increased Risk for a Cancer Predisposition Syndrome: The McGill Interactive Pediatric Oncogenetic Guidelines (MIPOGG Study)
Principal Investigator: Dr. William Foulkes
Co-Principal Investigator: Dr. David Malkin
Project Summary: Many genetic diseases are known to increase the risk of cancer development in children. A childhood cancer can be the first sign of a cancer predisposition syndrome (a genetic disorder that heightens the risk of developing cancers throughout life). Too often, the association between the cancer and a syndrome goes unrecognized by doctors. The team’s project is to develop a tool called the McGill Interactive Pediatric Oncogenetic Guidelines (MIPOGG) which will provide doctors with tumor-specific algorithms that will identify children at increased risk of having a cancer predisposition syndrome upon a new diagnosis of cancer. No such algorithms exist for children in the medical literature. At the moment, the team created 40/65 tumor algorithms which need to be validated.
Impact/Relevance: Ultimately, the goal of this electronic cancer genetic referral guideline is to give children with a cancer predisposition syndrome and their families the opportunity to be noticed, diagnosed, and treated appropriately. The MIPOGG will also serve as a valuable educational tool for medical professionals.
Awarded: One year Clinician Scholar Award, 2017
On October 13th, Dr. Goudie presented the MIPOGG study and the preliminary validation process in a poster discussion session at the 49th Congress of the International Society of Pediatric Oncology held in Washington (SIOP). Her research was awarded “Best Poster Discussion” in the non-brain solid tumor category. This project is gaining wide interest from many clinicians and researchers.
Project Title: Emotional difficulties in survivors of paediatric brain tumors; a neurobiological perspective
Principal Investigator: Dr. Donald Mabbott
Project Summary: This project will focus on emotional problems, such as anxiety and depression experienced by brain tumour survivors, and will relate these difficulties to structural damage in brain regions important for emotions.
Impact/Relevance: Findings from this study could lead to an increase in emotional monitoring and support for survivors of brain tumours. It could also highlight the importance of protecting brain structures that control emotions from cranial radiation. Together, these intervention and preventative strategies could significantly reduce emotional difficulties experienced by children treated with cranial radiation for brain tumours, and ultimately increase their quality of life.
Awarded: Three-year PhD Fellowship, 2015
Moxon-Emre I, Bouffet E, Taylor M, Laperriere N, Sharpe M, Laughlin S et al. Vulnerability of white matter to insult during childhood: evidence from patients treated for medulloblastoma. Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics. 2016: 1-12.
Project Title: Relative bioavailability of an extemporaneous oral suspension of aprepitant in children
Principal Investigator: Dr. Lee Dupuis
Qualified Investigator: Dr. Paul Nathan
Co-Investigators: Ms. Sue Zupanec, Ms. Jocelyne Volpe, Mr. Scott Walker
Project Summary: Nausea and vomiting are distressing side effects of chemotherapy. Aprepitant is one of the most effective medicines to prevent chemotherapy-induced vomiting. Aprepitant is only available as a capsule. So, children who cannot swallow capsules cannot benefit from this medicine. Pharmacists can use aprepitant capsules to make an oral liquid form of aprepitant. But, we do not know how well this form is absorbed into the bloodstream. This study will compare the absorption of the oral liquid aprepitant to the capsule in healthy adult volunteers. Given that the absorption and metabolism of aprepitant in children is similar to adults by one year of age, the results of this study will be applicable to children.
Impact/Relevance: If the absorption pattern of oral liquid aprepitant and the capsule are similar, children who cannot swallow capsules and who are receiving chemotherapy will have access to a medicine known to improve control of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.
Awarded: One-year Clinician Scholar Fellowship, 2016