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Shenandoah's Mountain Movers
Shenandoah's 2019 Mountain Mover is
Dr. Siddhartha Mitra, PhD at the University of Colorado, Denver!
Left to Right: Allison Cole, Dr. Siddhartha Mitra, PhD aka "Dr Sid", and Senthil Lakshmana Chetty
Dr. Mitra is a developmental neurobiologist with a passion for neural stem cell and brain tumor research. His lab is focused on creating new therapies in this space and has made great strides in doing so. The relative lack of quality human primary cell-based animal models remains a significant limitation to the discovery and application of new therapeutic advances for adults and children afflicted with central nervous system neoplasms. With a background in mammalian developmental biology and a desire to further the availability and practicality of such models, Dr. Mitra has developed a rigorous experimental program to establish novel dissociation and culture protocols for generating primary human cell lines from surgically-resected or postmortem brain tumor samples. By setting up a team comprised of pediatric neurosurgeons, neuropathologists, and clinical and surgical support staff, Dr. Mitra has established a highly successful tissue acquisition network where scientists are now able to research a vast array of pediatric brain tumors. These cell lines have led to major findings such as the identification of EGFRvIII in tumor stem cells (Cancer Research, 2014), the development of the first in vitro culture model and xenograft model for DIPG (PNAS 2010), and a comprehensive library of cell lines for c-Myc-amplified sub group (Group 3) of medulloblastoma, which have now been used in three major publications (PNAS 2015, Clin Cancer Res 2014, Nature Medicine 2014). These cell lines have now been distributed around the world to multiple groups for high throughput screening to identify novel drugs with therapeutic potential.
Because of his important work and loyal patronage (and friendship) of Shenandoah, the Mitra lab has been awarded Shenandoah's 2019 Mountain Mover product grant. Dr. Mitra believes that Shenandoah proteins will help the lab’s continued effort to develop new models for functional studies and thus to identify novel therapeutics against pediatric brain tumors. When asked why the Mitra lab chooses Shenandoah proteins, Dr. Mitra said, “I am proud to say that my lab was one of the early adopters of Shenandoah’s Products. Shenandoah has been my choice for acquiring cytokines and growth factors for 2 primary reasons. 1) The batch-to-batch and lot-to-lot activity of every product has been consistent without significant variability and (2) the customer service (provided by Linda and Olivia..yes the CSO is very accessible) has allowed us the flexibility of trying out different culture conditions."
Please review Dr. Mitra’s recent publications HERE.
Dr. Mitra is involved with:
- The Morgan Adams Pediatric Brain Tumor Program
- Society of Neuro-Oncology
- Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation
From 2018 Dr. Green:
Left to Right:
Patrick Flannery, Senior Professional Research Assistant (PRA); Adam Green, MD; John DeSisto, Senior PRA; Rakeb Lemma, PRA
Dr. Green’s research team focuses on pediatric high-grade glioma (HGG) and diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG)… AKA working to cure pediatric brain cancer!
As a clinician, Dr. Green works directly with patients and is successfully bridging the gap between benchtop and bedside. Dr. Green’s lab has been involved with several projects that have led to local and national clinical trials. A major effort in the Green lab is to understand and treat a currently incurable pediatric HGG that occurs due to radiation received in treatment for other cancers. They have developed a combination treatment with a new chemotherapy medicine that is currently in national clinical trials. Additionally, the Green lab participates in a lab-clinical cooperative effort to determine whether chemotherapy is capable of reaching DIPGs. His lab receives funding from and actively participates in events with the Morgan Adams Foundation, a Denver-based group that supports pediatric brain tumor research, and St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a national group supporting pediatric oncology research. Dr. Green is currently the Scientific Meeting Co-Chair responsible to plan and promote the 2018 International Symposium on Pediatric Neuro-Oncology, the premier pediatric brain tumor research meeting in the world, which will be held in Denver June 30-July 3, 2018.
The Green lab is super excited about Shenandoah’s Mountain Movers product grant, as Shenandoah proteins are crucial for the ex vivo culture of HGG and DIPG cells. Dr. Green says, “Growth factors from Shenandoah allow us to grow cell lines from these diseases that come directly from patients.” We use these lines to discover new weaknesses and test new treatments in these tumors, both in cell culture, and in mice growing the human tumors. “We choose Shenandoah over other options because Shenandoah has been involved with DIPG research since the world-wide start of using patient-derived cell lines to find a cure for this devastating disease. The products work and we know that we can trust them. Moreover, Shenandoah realizes the importance of this work and has been an active participant in it.”
- Please review his recent publications HERE.
- Please visit his lab’s webpage HERE.
- Please learn more about the 2018 International Symposium on Pediatric Neuro-Oncology HERE.
From 2017 Dr. Monje:
Our FIRST EVER Mountain Mover scientist is so incredibly fitting because she has been a Shenandoah customer for almost as long as Shenandoah has been making proteins. Her name is Dr. Michelle Monje-Deisseroth, MD, PhD and she is on a mission to find a treatment for pediatric brain cancer.
Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) is a devastating brain cancer that afflicts children ages four to nine. The disease is particularly heart-wrenching because it has no effective treatment options, survival times are measured in months, and it is 100% fatal. DIPG tumors are extremely destructive and rapidly progressive due to their location in the pons brain structure, which is required for critical brain functions such as breathing.
The major hurdle for understanding the development of DIPG tumors and for designing treatment strategies lies is in gaining access to tumor cells. Since DIPG tumors intertwine with normal brain tissue, surgical removal or biopsy presents many challenges, including the risk of causing irreparable damage. Thus, post-mortem access to DIPG tumors is the only option for research analysis. With the generous premission of families of children who have succumbed to DIPG, Dr. Monje-Deisseroth and others have worked to culture DIPG tumor cells and develop a tumor model in mice. This work has led to significant progress in identifying the tumor source and the mechanisms of tumor growth. Dr. Monje-Deisseroth has published several papers in which she utilizes Shenandoah’s growth factors (FGF-basic, EGF, and PDGFs) to culture DIPG cells and test drug compounds that slow tumor cell growth. This has led to the identification of several promising compounds to be examined for clinical trials in hopes of dramatically enhancing the treatment options available to children with DIPG. At the moment, Dr. Monje-Deisseroth’s work at Stanford University primarily focuses on the role of epigenetics underlying DIPG disease progression.
In addition to her research, Dr. Monje-Deisseroth works closely with a group called The McKenna Claire Foundation. They support the global distribution of DIPG cells to labs interested in studying DIPG. The McKenna Claire Foundation covers the cell banking, cell culture, and shipping charges associated with the DIPG cells in hopes that with more labs studying the disease, quicker advancements towards DIPG treatments will be made.
In Shenandoah’s opinion, Dr. Monje-Deisseroth is a model scientist and inspires us to do what we can to help the DIPG cause. We have created a DIPG protein bundle containing the proteins needed for culturing DIPG cells and have discounted it 20% from our retail pricing. We hope that making these products more affordable will increase experimentation and lead to more questions being answered. We are also proud to offer Dr. Monje-Deisseroth our support with a product grant. Although Shenandoah is a very small company, we are thrilled to contribute to Dr. Monje-Deisseroth being able to distribute the DIPG cell line and more effectively focus on her groundbreaking research.
Please visit Dr. Michelle Monje-Deisseroth, MD, PhD Lab's webpage HERE
Learn more about DIPG causes here: