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Dr. Foster’s current research focuses on immunotherapy for pediatric solid and brain tumors. Specifically she is investigating chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy for neuroblastoma, high-grade gliomas, medulloblastomas, diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas, and other brain tumors. The goals of her research are to develop pre-clinical CAR T cells for translation into clinical trials to help these devastating tumors.
Dr. Foster’s research and clinical interests lie in bringing immunotherapy to use in pediatric solid and brain tumors. During her pediatric oncology fellowship she joined the laboratory of Adam Resnick, PhD, a leading expert in pediatric brain tumors, and John Maris, MD, internationally renowned expert in neuroblastoma. In collaboration with David Barrett, MD, PhD, and Stephen Grupp MD, PhD, who have successfully translated chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) from the bench to the bedside for the treatment of relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia, Dr. Foster’s work focuses on developing CAR T cells for pediatric solid and brain tumors and improving CAR T cell efficacy and safety using RNA-based technologies.
Her current research began during oncology fellowship, where using a CD19 CAR model, she was able to improve existing RNA CAR technology through the use of a novel purification method, paving the way for RNA CAR T cell therapy in solid and brain tumors. Her goal moving forward has been to apply these same RNA synthesis techniques toward CAR T cells targeting pediatric solid and brain tumors.
During her time in the lab she has published on this work and taken on multiple projects developing CAR therapy for neuroblastoma and high-grade pediatric brain tumors. These projects include targeting GD2 with RNA CAR T cells for diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, development of new CAR structures targeting GPC2 for neuroblastoma, medulloblastoma and high-grade gliomas, as well as using mRNA encoding cytokines as a boost to enhance the efficacy of CAR T cells for solid and brain tumors. Dr. Foster is also investigating additional immunotherapeutic targets using genomic sequencing, RNA sequencing, and proteomic data.
Education and Training
BA, Columbia University (Neuroscience and Behavior), 2006
MD, University of Virginia, 2010
Fellowship, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (Pediatric Hematology/Oncology), 2017
Titles and Academic Titles
Instructor of Pediatrics
Children's Oncology Group, 2014-