6th Biennial Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Basic and Translational Research Conference Summary

6th Biennial Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Basic and Translational Research Conference Summary

The Sixth Biennial Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Research Conference took place virtually on June 10-12, 2021. The conference enjoyed record participation with close to 600 clinician-researchers, basic and translational scientists, post-doctoral and clinical fellows, graduate students and other research students, drawing investigators from over 35 countries to the event. The conference was ably co-chaired by Stefan Pfister of the German Cancer Research Center, and Katherine Warren of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

The first day featured three distinct sessions. Session 1 featured invited talks on drug screens, predictive drug sensitivity profiling and validation in PDX models by Martine Roussel, Steven Corsello, and Olaf Witt. This was followed by a keynote lectures entitled Innovations in the new WHO classification of CNS tumors how to diagnose brain tumors in children, delivered by Pieter Wesseling. Session 2 addressed synaptic signaling in pediatric brain tumors with talks from Michelle Monje, Frank Winkler, and Livia Garzia. This was followed by an invited talk entitled Functional Genomics and the Neuroscience of Brain Tumors by Benjamin Deneen.
Session 3 featured talks on liquid biopsies in pediatric CNS tumors from Pratiti (Mimi) Bandopadhayay, Paul Northcott, and Alexandra Miller, followed by an invited talk entitled Consequences of epigenetic dysregulation by Claudia Kleinman. Throughout the day, top scoring oral abstracts were presented on a range of topics.

The second day began with Session 4 and a series of talks on overcoming challenges to CNS therapeutic drug delivery for pediatric neuro-oncology by Ruman Rahman, William Elmquist, and Laura Genovesi. Michelle Monje then delivered a keynote lecture on the topic of Developing CAR T cell Immunotherapies for Children with CNS Tumors. Session 5 addressed pediatric neuro-oncology response assessment with talks from Craig Erker, Tina Young Poussaint, and Kristen Yeom
David Gutmann then delivered a lecture entitled Microenvironmental control of Low-Grade Glioma Formation and Growth. The final session of second day included talks on the intersection of Epigenetics and Metabolism in Pediatric Brain Tumors by Sriram Venneti, Sameer Agnihotri, Jeremy Rich, and an invited talk from Maria Castro entitled Immunology of Pediatric Brain Tumors.

The first session of day three featured a range of talks that addressed health disparities, equity, diversity and Inclusion in clinical trials from Sonia Partap, Elysia Alvarez, Ibrahim Qaddoumi, and Tabitha Cooney, as well as talks on drug development from Amy Weinstein and Michael Cox. The final session of the conference addressed AYA neuro-oncology with talks from Aaron Yeo and David Reardon, breakthroughs for NF1 nervous system tumors by Michael Fisher, and Jaishri Blakeley, and the conference concluded with talks on BRAF gliomas from Pratti Bandopadhayay and Jean Mulcahy-Levy.

Despite not being able to gather in-person, the conference was a fantastic success and is a testament to the exciting research that is being conducted in the field. The conference contributed to the increased understanding of the biology of pediatric brain tumors, which will make further advancements in the care of these patients possible. SNO is already planning the Seventh Biennial Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Research Conference which is expected to take place in-person in Washington, DC, in June of 2023.

SNO is especially grateful to the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation for their lead sponsorship of this event.