Dr. Souweidane to Speak at SNO Pediatrics Conference

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Mark Souweidane, MD
Mark Souweidane, MD

Dr. Mark Souweidane, who recently presented the results of his Phase I clinical trial for convection-enhanced delivery (CED) in children with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) at the annual meeting of American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), will also be a part of the pediatrics conference of the Society for Neuro-oncology (SNO). The SNO conference, which will be held in New York on June 15 and 16, is one of the most important meetings of the year for researchers focused on pediatric brain tumors.

On Thursday morning, Dr. Souweidane will deliver a plenary talk on direct drug delivery to children with brain stem tumors and the hurdles that need to be overcome to optimize a potential therapeutic benefit. Later in the day he will present the results of a study related to the clinical trial. Although the trial has drawn much attention for its potential for bypassing the blood-brain barrier and delivering tumor-fighting drugs directly to a pontine glioma, it has also generated a wealth of new learning about imaging diffuse tumors, monitoring the clearance of therapeutic agents from the body, and modifying the therapeutic molecule itself for better visibility on scans. Thursday’s talk will cover another aspect of the trial: evaluating the trajectory of the cannula through the brain to the tumor, looking at whether the placement of the equipment itself creates any danger to the patient.

The paper, which Dr. Souweidane co-authored with Dr. Peter Morgenstern (a neurosurgery resident at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center) and Dr. Eva Wembacher-Schroeder of Brainlab (the manufacturer of the cannula), reviews placement planning for CED cannulas in children receiving infusions for DIPG. Since the trajectory of the cannula involves eloquent areas of the brain and risks interfering with white matter that controls movement, Dr. Souweidane’s team performed neurological testing on patients after the cannula was placed but before the infusions were begun. This allowed the team to evaluate the effect of only the cannula trajectory on motor control. The resulting paper, “Corticospinal tract tolerance to catheter positioning for convection enhanced delivery in the brain stem,” reports that touching these motor tracts with the cannula is acceptable. (In one of 33 infusions, a child experienced a slight worsening of facial palsy, but there no new deficits observed.) 

The paper will be published in a supplement to the June issue of Neuro-Oncology. (Read the paper's abstract.)

More about DIPG and the clinical trial