Professor Amar Gajjar holds the Scott and Tracie Hamilton Endowed Chair in Brain Tumor Research at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and is a Member of the St. Jude Faculty. He is Chair, Department of Pediatric Medicine, Co-Chair, Department of Oncology, Director, Neuro-Oncology Division and Co-Leader, Neurobiology & Brain Tumor Program. Professor Gajjar’s current clinical research interests focus on innovative protocols for the treatment of childhood brain tumors, with a focus on medulloblastomas, PNET and Rhabdoid tumors (ATRT). Professor Gajjar is the Chief Investigator for the series of St Jude Medulloblastoma Clinical Trials conducted over the last 25 years; SJMB96, SJMB2003 and SjMB2012. Based on the progressive results of the SJMB96 and 03 clinical trials, the SJMB12 study is a clinical and molecular risk adapted trial for newly diagnosed Medulloblastoma, which has currently recruiting over 700 patients. This study involves extensive biological studies on the tumor and normal tissue to inform the future development of new therapy for high risk patients, while safely reducing therapy for those at low risk of relapse.
In addition to these biological studies, our SJMB12 clinical trial is continuing the work of SJMB03 investigating the neuro-cognitive impact of treatment and determining if neurocognitive rehabilitation and intervention can preserve cognitive function following treatment. These are the first studies to prospectively ascertain if such intervention does indeed help children. Additionally, we are doing extensive imaging studies and detailed neuropsychological examinations to better understand the nature of the cognitive deficits so we can devise better strategies to help our children.