For Stanford neurooncologist Michelle Monje, MD, PhD, brain cancer in children is one of the worst diseases she can imagine. "When I saw this disease first in medical school, I just couldn't turn away from it," she says. "So I've dedicated my career trying to take better care of children with brain tumors."
Very little was known about the mutational profile when she first started researching the disease, but in the last decade, Monje says they've made tremendous progress, leading to a deeper understanding of what is really driving these cancers. She's also working on finding safer and more effective alternatives to the current therapies available. "They're the best we have, we need them, they're life-saving -- I'm not at all advocating not using the therapies we have -- but they are devastating and they induce long-lasting damage that is also poorly understood."
In a recent segment on Stanford Radio's The Future of Everything, hosted by Stanford professor Russ Altman, MD, PhD, Monje discussed developments in the field, including immunotherapy as a promising new approach to the treatment of brain cancer in children.
Photo by Raquel Mela