Theo Nicolaides, MD
I am a physician scientist in the field of pediatric neuro-oncology. I am currently an Assistant Professor at UCSF and have independent lab space in the Brain Tumor Research Center supported through an NIH SPORE award. I also am Director of the UCSF Brain Tumor Research Center Pre-Clinical (animal research) Core that generates new patient derived xenografts and cell lines from all pediatric brain tumor patients at UCSF and uses these for rationally designed preclinical experiments. My research interests are in identifying and validating therapeutic targets in brain tumors using in vitro and in vivo techniques. My current work focuses on EGFR activation in adult gliomas, and MAP kinase pathway activation in pediatric gliomas, and opportunities created for targeted therapy. We have published data supporting the substantial frequency of BRAFV600E mutations in pediatric astrocytomas, and have demonstrated the pre-clinical efficacy of PLX4032 (a BRAFV600E kinase inhibitor) in xenograft models. This data has led to a multi-center clinical trial using this approach that I chair through the Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium (PNOC). My lab also performed the biology studies for a recent phase 1 trial conducted by the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium testing a MEK inhibitor, selumetinib, in pediatric gliomas.