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NextBio Teams Up with Emory, Aflac, to Locate Biomarkers for Pediatric Brian Tumors


NextBio said this week that it is partnering with Emory University’s Winship Cancer Institute and the Aflac Cancer Center to work on identifying biomarkers that can predict brain cancer metastasis in children, which will help clinicians determine which patients should receive radiation therapy.

The partners will use NextBio Clinical software to analyze and interpret molecular and genomic data collected from children with medulloblastoma, a childhood brain tumor that affects around 500 children in the US every year and accounts for 20 percent of all brain cancers in children below the age of 19.

Specifically, “this study will look at clinical and genomic data from real patients, as well as data from mouse models and frozen human tissue samples, and then will correlate these data sets with other data from the public domain,” Alpana Verma-Alag, NextBio’s head of clinical development, explained in a statement.

Tobey MacDonald, director of Aflac’s brain tumor program and associate professor of pediatrics at Emory, noted that there is currently no way to tell which patients have a higher risk of metastasis and as such all children suffering from medulloblastoma receive radiotherapy even though “it causes long term side-effects and toxicity in young growing brains.”

“[The] ability to perform genomic studies on patients and then to use NextBio Clinical’s correlation engine to compare the genomic profile of primary tumors with that of metastatic tumors, both across our data and across the large amount of data that NextBio has curated from the public domain, makes achieving our goal of improving outcomes for people with medulloblastoma seem nearer in sight,” he said in a statement.