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New framework for fighting low-grade gliomas will transform future of patient care

Roger Packer, M.D., and other leading experts outline path to better understanding and treating this complex disease in children February 28, 2018

WASHINGTON – New recommendations that will significantly advance the future of care for patients with low-grade gliomas (LGGs) were recently published in Neuro-Oncology. The report, developed by Roger J. Packer, M.D., senior vice president for the Center for Neuroscience and Behavioral Medicine at Children’s National Health System, and leaders in the field from around the world, will set a new path to expedite the translation of scientific advances into clinical care.

“This new framework represents a breakthrough in the field of pediatric brain tumors,” says Dr. Packer. “We are encouraged by the significant strides made in understanding the biologic underpinnings of LGGs and how to use this information to deliver more effective and less toxic therapy. These recommendations provide the necessary blueprint to move the needle on this deadly disease that remains a clinical challenge around the world.”

LGGs remain one of the most common, and complex, pediatric brain tumors today. As an extremely diverse group of tumors that have a tendency to spread and cause neurologic and visual deficits, one size does not fit all when it comes to treatment. While recent research on LGGs has led to a better understanding of the biology of these tumors, there has not been a standardized way to categorize the tumors and use such categorization to prescribe a more effective and personalized treatment option. The new blueprint will provide clinicians with one mutually agreed upon set of recommendations to further advance the field and better diagnose and treat patients with LGGs.

Topics within the framework include:

  • Implications of the growing understanding of genomics underlying these tumors and how to apply to clinical practice
  • The need for more and better model systems to assess the likely benefits of new treatments for LGGs before exposing patients to new therapy
  • A review and assessment of what is needed for the design of future clinical trials
  • Evaluation of current therapies and the steps needed to expedite molecularly targeted therapy into late-stage clinical trials, including in those newly diagnosed with the disease so as to avoid less-personalized chemotherapy or radiotherapy

More than 25 years ago, Dr. Packer and his colleagues developed the chemotherapeutic treatment approach that revolutionized treatment for LGGs that is still considered the standard of care today. The group believes their understanding combined with novel therapies will soon lead to a new standard of care for children with LGGs.

“Despite the challenges ahead, we’re optimistic that together we can make a real difference for patients and their families,” says Dr. Packer. “The old rules for treating this disease no longer apply, and I’m excited about the promise this report represents.”

Media Contact:  Rebecca Porterfield Siddon | 301-244-6737 | 202-476-4500

About Children's National Health System

Children’s National Health System, based in Washington, D.C., has served the nation’s children since 1870. Children’s National is one of the nation’s Top 5 pediatric hospitals and, for a second straight year, is ranked No. 1 in newborn care, as well as ranked in all specialties evaluated by U.S. News & World Report. It has been designated two times as a Magnet® hospital, a designation given to hospitals that demonstrate the highest standards of nursing and patient care delivery. This pediatric academic health system offers expert care through a convenient, community-based primary care network and specialty outpatient centers in the D.C. Metropolitan area, including the Maryland suburbs and Northern Virginia. Home to the Children’s Research Institute and the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, Children’s National is the seventh-highest NIH-funded pediatric institution in the nation. Children’s National is recognized for its expertise and innovation in pediatric care and as a strong voice for children through advocacy at the local, regional and national levels. 

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