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ATRT Investigators -

North Carolina

David Ashley, MBBS, FRACP, PhD

Duke University Medical Center [Durham, NC]

I’ve worked for more than 30 years caring for pediatric and adult patients with brain tumors. During this time we’ve seen steady improvement in both the quality of outcomes and survival in our patients. However, we need to continue to make strides on their behalf. With this in mind, a large part of my career has been focused on research right from the lab and through into the clinic. I have focused on introducing new medications and approaches to improving brain tumor patient outcomes. I have always found it both humbling and gratifying to become an important part of families lives when they face the diagnosis of a brain tumor and need advice and advocacy. I thoroughly enjoy working with the team of dedicated and world-class staff at the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center.


My Research Interests


Pediatric Oncology has been the focus of my efforts in translational research and leadership. My peer-reviewed publications include laboratory-based cancer research, clinical trials, public health and psycho-oncology research. My primary academic focus has been on neurologic tumors, tumor immunology, apoptosis, and the epigenetics of cancer. I have held different leadership roles, including director of two major cancer centers.


Investigator of Clinical Trials:  



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Eric Thompson, MD

Duke University Medical Center [Durham, NC]

Caring for children is a privilege, and I am fortunate to have the opportunity to evaluate and treat children with a wide variety of neurological disorders. My patients’ resilience and determination to get better are a constant inspiration to me, and just some of the many reasons why I love being a pediatric neurosurgeon. In addition to treating patients, I conduct both basic science and clinical research, and I have a particular interest in pediatric brain tumors.


My Research Interests


My translational and clinical research focus is pediatric brain tumors. My translational research involves 1) elucidating molecular drivers of pediatric brain tumor leptomeningeal dissemination and 2) to characterize the mechanism of oncolytic viral immunotherapy in solid tumor and disseminated medulloblastoma. My clinical research focuses on 1) using a novel peptide vaccine to target CMV antigens to treat children with recurrent medulloblastoma and malignant glioma and 2) using oncolytic poliovirus to treat children with recurrent malignant glioma, medulloblastoma, and ATRT.

PI of Clinical Trial:  NCT 03043391

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Giselle Sholler, MD, MSc

Levine Children's Cancer & Blood Disorders, a facility of Carolinas Medical Center [Charlotte, NC]

Dr Sholler is currently a Pediatric Oncologist at Levine Children's Cancer & Blood Disorders, a facility of Carolinas Medical Center.

As the chair and lead investigator of BEAT CHILDHOOD CANCER and through preclinical work done within her laboratory, Dr Sholler successfully opens new Phase I and II trials for pediatric cancer patients, as well as Molecular Guided Therapy trials using precision medicine based on genomic analysis of pediatric tumors. Beat Childhood Cancer is a collaborative team of over 40 distinguished universities and children’s hospitals that have joined together to offer a national network of clinical trials. Dr Sholler is committed to developing novel therapies and to working closely with collaborating investigators to share and perform innovative laboratory research and to continue to open clinical trials across the nation. Their strong track record of working closely with esteemed investigators studying pediatric cancers with a strong focus on neuroblastoma, ATRT, and DIPG in this collaborative environment provides the constant availability of innovative perspectives that drives their research forward and ultimately makes a difference in the daily lives of children living with cancer.

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