Hope for Hypothalamic Hamartomas is proud to have fostered and awarded $59,000 in grants to this collaboration, which will unite and build upon two separate research projects currently on-going at the University of Melbourne and Baylor College of Medicine. The Melbourne team, in research analysing the DNA of HH tissue removed during surgery, has shown to date that an individual or cluster of potential genetic markers can be identified in 30-40% of individuals with a hypothalamic hamartoma (read more about this research here). As more surgeries were being performed with the laser, which destroys rather than removes the hypothalamic hamartoma tissue, the research project was running out of tissue to analyse. However, using a technique developed at Baylor, Melbourne has shown it is possible to extract sufficient DNA for genomic screening from the laser sheaths used during surgery (read more here.) Hope for Hypothalamic Hamartomas has approved grants to pay for the shipping and associated costs of transferring DNA from hypothalamic hamartoma tissue harvested during surgeries in Phoenix, Calgary and London to the Melbourne team for analysis. Hope for Hypothalamic Hamartomas is grateful to Hope for HH-UK for contributing to these grants.
Building on this cutting-edge research, Hope for Hypothalamic Hamartomas approved a joint grant to the Baylor and Melbourne teams to collaborate in the analysis of tissue extracted from laser catheters used during hypothalamic hamartoma laser surgeries at Texas Children’s Hospital. The extracted DNA will be shared, with the Melbourne team performing whole exome analysis and the Baylor team attempting a novel method to profile transcriptomes. The aim of the collaboration is to achieve a greater understanding of how genetic variants might cause or affect hypothalamic hamartomas and its symptoms, as well as to establish a universal standard for research collaboration and sharing across institutions and continents.