Cognitive deficits are the greatest obstacle to full functional recovery in survivors of pediatric brain tumors. These deficits are multifactorial, but current approaches to clinical assessment and investigation fail to capture, or assimilate, this complexity. Consequently, patient benefit is compromised. In this project we are applying cutting edge neuroimaging, genomics, and advanced computational analyses in a precision medicine approach, in order to address this critically important problem. Using these tools, our goal is to identify and validate biomarkers of cognitive deficits that provide sensitive and truly personalized metrics for improving cognitive outcomes for the ever-growing population of pediatric brain tumor survivors. In addition, we want to achieve a greater understanding of the individual variation in the basis for the common deficits.
As treatment and survival continue to improve, we believe that the objectives in clinical oncological investigation must transition from placing the premium on optimizing survival, to optimizing quality of life from the moment of diagnosis onwards. With this project we aim to demonstrate the value of assessing individual variation in genomics, neuroimaging metrics, and vascular health, in order to predict cognitive outcome at the time of diagnosis, during treatment, and to measure recovery post-treatment, all with the goal of better improving long term cognitive recovery for pediatric brain tumor patients.