A $25,000 grant from the Hope4ATRT Foundation will soon provide assistance for children with atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumors (ATRT) to enroll in a groundbreaking research study at Atrium Health Levine Children’s, underwriting the cost of sophisticated genomic analysis. The study, led by Giselle Saulnier Sholler, MD, MSc, chair of the Beat Childhood Cancer Research Consortium and director of the Isabella Santos Foundation Rare & Solid Tumor Program at Levine Children’s, is bringing advanced testing to patient families, while guiding new treatments for future ATRT patients.

Dr. Sholler has long specialized in treating children with brain tumors like ATRT. She is known worldwide for her groundbreaking research. Work in the Sholler Pediatric Oncology Research Laboratory focuses on identifying new therapies for these young patients and developing precision medicine through testing of novel agents for a panel of cancers including neuroblastomas, ATRT, and other brain tumors.

“My goal is to help identify new therapies and bring clinical trials to life to impact children today,” said Dr. Sholler. “I’m committed to finding better tolerated and more targeted therapies through precision medicine so children can be cured with less toxic effects than we see with the current chemotherapy.”

As chair of the Beat Childhood Cancer Research Consortium, Dr. Sholler coordinates the clinical trial efforts of 50+ universities and children’s hospitals worldwide and oversees its ATRT Translation Research Program. The Consortium launched a new biology study last year that built on their previous research called theLCI-BCC-BIO-001 Specimen Banking with Clinical and Genomic Data Registry with the establishment of Tumor Models for Pediatric Cancers. This study focuses on brain tumor and solid tumor samples from children with a variety of diagnoses, including ATRT. These tumor samples undergo complete genomic analysis, including whole exome and transcriptome testing, to better understand the biology of each child’s cancer. Mutations and pathways active in driving each individual tumor are identified in hopes of developing therapeutic approaches and personalized medicine. In addition, cells from these tumors are being grown in culture and creating xenograft models for high throughput drug screening.