Dramatic Progress for Medulloblastoma Patients

by St. Baldrick's Foundation
August 2, 2021

Want to know how St. Baldrick’s donors are the saving lives of kids with a common brain tumor? This isn’t just an example of progress – it’s the biggest increase in survival rates many researchers have ever seen from one clinical trial! And that trial was supported by St. Baldrick’s.

Grace was diagnosed with medullobalstoma at age 5. She is an almost-14-year survivor.

Brain tumors are the leading cause of disease-related death in children, and medulloblastoma is the most common pediatric malignant brain tumor. Most are diagnosed before the age of 10.

St. Baldrick’s has supported a lot of research aimed at finding cures for medulloblastoma, but the biggest impact to date was reported on July 21, 2021, in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA Oncology).

And it wasn’t because of a new drug.

Like so many advances in pediatric cancer, this progress came from using existing treatments in a new combination. In this case, that means adding a chemotherapy drug called carboplatin during radiation therapy.

The result?

The 5-year survival rate increased from 54% to 73% for children with high-risk group 3 medulloblastoma.

That’s a 19% increase – almost unheard of from one clinical trial!

And it emphasizes the need to know whether a child with medulloblastoma falls into this high-risk group at diagnosis, as this is the only group for which this more intense therapy made a significant difference. 

In real life terms, this means that in this type of medulloblastoma, 20 more kids of every 100 will survive than would have before this discovery.

St. Baldrick’s Support Made It Possible

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is the biggest non-government supporter of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), which conducted this significant clinical trial. 

COG Chair, Doug Hawkins, MD of Seattle Children’s Hospital, says, “The St. Baldrick’s Foundation was pivotal in the conduct of this study. By providing COG institutions with additional support for every patient enrolled on a study, St. Baldrick’s contributed to the study’s dramatic, practice-changing results.”

Also involved in this study was Dr. Paul Northcott, recipient of the prestigious St. Baldrick’s Robert J. Arceci Innovation Award.  “This is a critical advance that will have a profound impact on how children with high-risk group 3 tumors are clinically managed in the future,” he says.  Dr. Northcott’s lab led the molecular summarization of the clinical trial, and he adds that studies of this scale would not be possible without the kind of support St. Baldrick’s provides.

Much work remains to be done before every child with a brain tumor can be cured. But St. Baldrick’s supporters can be proud to play an important role in this exciting and dramatic advance.

Together, let’s keep supporting research to give kids a lifetime.


Read more on the St. Baldrick’s blog


Announcing St. Baldrick’s July 2021 Grants

by St. Baldrick's Foundation
July 20, 2021

This new investment of $3.5 million brings the total granted by St. Baldrick’s for research since 2005 to more than $310 million.

The 9 grants include new funding for 3 new St. Baldrick’s Scholars, and 1 new International Scholar from Uganda. Also receiving new funding for projects already underway are 4 team science projects (Consortium grants) and 1 Strategic Initiative: the Pediatric Cancer Data Commons.

child cheering text says New Funding AnnouncementHonored Kid Augie

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Real-Life Stories

Surviving Cancer – Through the Eyes of a 16-year-old

by St. Baldrick's Foundation
June 28, 2021

Want to know what it’s like to be a teenage survivor of childhood cancer? We asked 16-year-old Michael G. to share his experience, during National Cancer Survivor Month.

Honored Kid, Michael G.

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Battle Osteosarcoma Funds $1.35 Million in Research: Honoring Charlotte, Dylan and Tyler

by Becky C. Weaver, Chief Mission Officer, St. Baldrick's Foundation
July 30, 2019

Two years ago, a group of three dedicated moms rallied some dear friends to achieve what seemed like an ambitious goal to support osteosarcoma research. As you’ll see below, they knocked that one out of the park!

Battle Osteosarcoma volunteers holding a check for $1,350,000Battle Osteosarcoma volunteers set out to raise $150,000, then raised more than $1.3 million!

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What Is Sarcoma?

by Jeffrey Toretsky, M.D.
June 30, 2021

what is sarcoma

Dr. Jeffrey Toretsky is a St. Baldrick’s researcher at the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, D.C. He explains what sarcoma is, how it’s diagnosed and treated, and how research is helping kids and adults with this type of cancer.

What is sarcoma?

A sarcoma is a bumpy tumor that occurs in the connective tissues (nerves, muscles and bones) anywhere in the body.

Sarcomas are rare, especially in young children. In kids between 10 and 20, sarcomas make up about 20-25% of childhood cancer diagnoses.

Sarcomas can start off being tiny lumps that you can’t feel. They can spread through the body, or metastasize, before they grow big enough to be seen.

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Sun Protection 101: How to Keep Your Children Healthy

by Philip J. Landrigan, M.D., M.S.
June 22, 2021

Did you know that rates of skin cancer in the United States have been rising steadily over the past three decades?

Especially striking increases have been noted for malignant melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer.

In fact, the CDC reports that skin cancer is now the most common form of cancer in the U.S.

As the weather gets warmer and the sun gets hotter, it is important to learn how to best protect our children from solar radiation.

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This New Tool Could Mean Better Health For Childhood Cancer Survivors

by Erinn Jessop, St. Baldrick's Foundation
June 21, 2021

For childhood cancer survivors, treatment helps them to live, but often that survival comes at a cost. But what are these costs? And how big is the problem? That’s what St. Baldrick’s Fellow Dr. Nickhill Bhakta wanted to figure out. And as it turns out, that data could be a lifesaver.

Dr. Nickhill Bhakta at his desk

St. Baldrick’s Fellow Dr. Nickhill Bhakta works at his desk in St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. With a portion of the grant supported by the St. Baldrick’s Friends for Hope Fund, he developed a special statistical tool to help capture the true volume and complexity of chronic health conditions faced by childhood cancer survivors because of the long-term consequences of their treatment — something that hadn’t been done before. Photos courtesy of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

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Fathers & Sons, Teaming up to Give Kids a Lifetime

by St. Baldrick's Foundation
June 18, 2021

Fathers and sons have played a big role in the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, many creating their own legacy by shaving and fundraising together. Others have just begun a tradition that may last for decades.

Father-son duos; James and Dave, Samuel and Clifton, Dylan and JimFrom left to right: James and Dave, Samuel and Clifton, Dylan and Jim

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Real-Life Stories

Checking the Life-Threatening Box: A Survivor’s Update

by St. Baldrick's Foundation
June 14, 2021

A childhood cancer survivor himself, Gregory J. Aune, MD, PhD, shares his personal experience and thoughts during National Cancer Survivor Month.

(Originally posted on Medium on May 19th, Dr. Aune graciously agreed to share this with St. Baldrick’s.)

Researcher headshot with lab coatDr. Aune was a St. Baldrick’s Scholar 2014 – 2019, serves as a scientific reviewer and is a member of the Advocacy Committee for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. He is the Greehey Distinguished University Chair for Cancer Survivorship in Children at Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas.

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Real-Life Stories

Survivorship: Lives Forever Changed

by Becky Chapman Weaver, Chief Mission Officer
June 10, 2021

June is National Cancer Survivor Month, a time to celebrate childhood cancer survivors – and to keep the focus on progress. Because surviving is just the first step in a lifelong journey.

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What Is Pineoblastoma?

by St. Baldrick's Foundation
May 25, 2021

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