Dr Peter Dirks
The Hospital for Sick Children
A driving force behind relapse in childhood brain cancer
Dr Peter Dirks and his team studied how different cell types contributed to the growth of a form of medulloblastoma – the most common childhood brain cancer.
They found that a rare group of cells marked by a protein called Sox2 acted like cancer stem cells, sustaining the growth of the tumour. These cells divided very slowly and were not killed by chemotherapy, offering an explanation for how some medulloblastomas come back after treatment. They also found a drug that could kill these cells, which could lead to long-lasting remission.