Researcher identified importance of glioma protein

In a research laboratory at Northwestern University, Dr. Sandeep Batra made strong progress a protein called p-38. The lab is associated with Children’s Memorial Hospital has been partially funded through donations from The Rory David Deutsch Foundation. P-38 belongs to a family of proteins called mitogen-activated protein kinases. “These proteins actually help the brain stem glioma tumors to survive,” Dr. Batra said. “They are important in determining how the tumor will react to treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy. They have never been investigated in this capacity before.”

However, research has been conducted on p-38 in relation to other medical conditions including leukemia, and prostate cancer, and joint inflammation. Dr. Batra, a Pediatric Neuro-Oncologist who has been working on p-38 for about a year and a half under the direction of Dr. Stewart Goldman, expressed excitement about having access to this body of existing medical knowledge. “It will help us uncover the mystery surrounding this family of tumors,” he said. “We are already looking at a couple of medications that will work better if we can block the p-38 from protecting the tumor. We are hoping to develop some oral pills that will do that blocking and make treatment more effective. Our next logical step is to use either gene therapy or medications to block p-38 in a mouse with a glioma tumor to demonstrate that our research is effective. We greatly appreciate the kind of support we get from The Foundation. It is so critical in any kind of progress we make.”

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