School of Paediatrics and Child Health

Sasha Rogers


Sasha Rogers

Sasha Rogers

School of Paediatrics & Child Health
The University of Western Australia
Princess Margaret Hospital for Children
PO Box D 184, Subiaco
WA 6840

Phone (+61) 9340 8606
Fax (+61) 9388 2097


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Sasha Rogers


Invasive and non-invasive methods of brain biopsy in mouse models of paediatric brain tumours.


In the clinic, a brain biopsy is typically performed upon the discovery of a tumour. This sample of tumour is used to conclusively diagnose the cancer type and also allow doctors to understand the severity of the disease. In adult cancer the information obtained from the cancer sample is often also used to tailor treatment to target known vulnerabilities that can be detected in that patient’s tumour. This is especially important when using new cancer-specific (so called “targeted” therapies).
The drug used in this project, PF-00299804, is a Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor (TKI) which is predicted to only be effective in cancers where the targets of this drug are abnormally active. Therefore in adult cancers it would only be used in patients that are proven to have the target present in their biopsy sample.  Using this concept, orthotopically implanted mouse models of paediatric brain tumours were induced with cell lines known to over-express the appropriate enzyme. Using these models serial biopsies were performed before and after treatment in order to ascertain the response to treatment.

Currently there are no published data on serial biopsies in mouse models of paediatric tumours which identify response to treatment.

Although biopsy of tissue currently remains the “gold standard” to enable treatment decisions, there still remain significant concerns regarding morbidity associated with this invasive procedure. 

The second part of the study looks at developing procedures to enable magnetic resonance (MR) imaging of animals utilising the newly installed 9.4T small animal MR imager (MRI). The use of specific MRI protocols enables a non-invasive approach to the analysis of the chemical composition of spontaneous tumours in mouse models of paediatric tumours. 

The aim of this aspect of the study is to utilise the data obtained from the MR spectroscopy to enable a judgement to be made regarding response to treatment while minimising morbidity.

This study describes methods by which serial invasive and non-invasive biopsies in mouse models can be used to identify the abnormally expressed pathway and its response to treatment in vivo.

Subsequent to this a comparison of invasive and non-invasive biopsy will be conducted. 

Why my research is important

The identification of individualized targeted therapies for brain tumours is believed to represent the future of chemotherapeutics. Animal serial brain biopsies to model the known abnormal pathways of tumourigenesis will allow analysis of preclinical chemotherapeutics.


  • Ethan Davies Fellowship

School of Paediatrics and Child Health

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Last updated:
Monday, 1 September, 2014 3:23 PM