March 6, 2020

Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Lab

Hackensack Meridian Health’s Center for Discovery and Innovation (CDI) will house a new Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Lab with a focus on central nervous system (CNS) tumors.

This lab, led by pediatric neuro-oncologist Dr. Derek Hanson and surgeon-scientist Dr. Timothy Vogel, will seek to meet the clinical and research needs of children with these rare, aggressive brain tumors.

The pediatric neuro-oncology program at Hackensack University Medical Center stands on the cutting-edge of research and care, reaching over half the new pediatric brain tumor cases in New Jersey. The lab will build upon Dr. Hanson’s leadership in pediatric neuro-oncology research, specifically furthering the much-needed research in Embryonal Tumor with Multilayered Rosettes (ETMR), a highly aggressive brain tumor with a less than 10% survival rate.

Pediatric CNS tumors are the number one cause of death by disease among children. The research that is currently underway and will grow at the new lab is essential to expanding treatment options for pediatric brain tumors.
Tackle Kids Cancer helps provide the necessary funding to make this lab a reality and extend options to families of children with tumors once thought to be untreatable.

Initially, the lab will focus on a proposed treatment for embryonal tumors with multi-layered rosettes (ETMR). ETMR is a rare and highly-aggressive CNS neoplasm which occurs almost exclusively in young children ages 4 years and under. The tumor follows an extremely aggressive course with dismal survival outcomes. Due to the rare nature of ETMR and its recent classification, no investigations have been conducted to determine the optimal therapy for these tumors. New treatment regimens incorporating the known biology of ETMR must be developed.

Dr. Hanson and Dr. Vogel have had clinical success with their protocol, as detailed in Addie’s Story. Their research will further examine the responsiveness of various agents to the tumor.

Dr. Derek Hanson is the Program Head of Pediatric Neuro-oncology at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center and is the head of the Hackensack University Medical Center Institutional Review Board for Research. His work focuses on clinical care research with a special focus on developing phase I trials to provide new treatments for children with brain tumors.

Dr. Timothy Vogel is the Chief of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Hackensack University Medical Center and a board-certified pediatric neurosurgeon at North Jersey Brain and Spine Center. He is a clinician-scientist studying developmental neuro-oncology and translational research models to improve the understanding of tumorigenesis.