Brain tumors are now the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in children under age 15. Malignant gliomas are, for all practical purposes, incurable and new therapeutic approaches are desperately needed. One emerging strategy is to use the tumor tracking capacity inherent in many stem cell populations to deliver therapeutic agents to the brain cancer cells. Current limitations of the stem cell therapy strategy include that stem cells are treated as a single entity and lack of uniform technology is adopted for selection of clinically relevant sub-populations of stem cells. Specifically, therapeutic success relies on the selection of a clinically competent stem cell population based on their capacity of targeting brain tumors. A novel and generalizable organotypic slice platform to evaluate stem cell potential for targeting pediatric brain tumors is proposed to fill the gap in the current work flow of stem cell-based therapy. The organotypic slice platform has advantages of being mimic in vivo model, easier to manipulate to optimize parameters than in vivo models such as rodents and primates. This model serves as a framework to address the discrepancy between anticipated in vivo results and actual in vivo results, a critical barrier to timely progress in the field of the use of stem cells for the treatment of neurological disorders
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