|Awarded On||February 15, 2023|
|Title||Neuronal Alterations in the Midbrain Dopaminergic System Function: A Novel Mechanism of Radiation Induced Cognitive Dysfunction|
|Award Mechanism||Individual Investigator Research Awards for Cancer in Children and Adolescents|
|Institution/Organization||The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center|
|Principal Investigator/Program Director||Die Zhang|
|Cancer Sites||Brain and Other Nervous System|
Radiation therapy plays a crucial role in the treatment of brain tumors. However, especially in young patients, successful treatment outcomes are unfortunately associated with long-term declines in cognitive function. However, remarkably little is known regarding the mechanisms of radiation-induced cognitive impairment. The ventral tegmental area (VTA), which connects the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus and other limbic brain regions, is critically important in cognitive functions including reward, motivation, decision making and learning, all of which may be impacted in patients treated with brain radiation. Although significant dysfunctions in the VTA dopamine system have been identified in...