St. Baldrick’s and the National Brain Tumor Society Join Forces to Defeat Pediatric Brain Cancer

by Erinn Jessop, St. Baldrick's Foundation
October 6, 2016

Brain cancer is now the leading cancer killer in kids, and St. Baldrick’s has just partnered with the National Brain Tumor Society to do something about it. Read on for more about what this partnership is going to do about brain cancer and how it could revolutionize childhood cancer research forever.

St. Baldrick's + the National Brain Tumor Society

Many kids with leukemia are now getting better and surviving their cancer, thanks to great strides in childhood cancer research over the years. But unfortunately, a lot of kids with brain tumors are not seeing the same results.

In fact, brain cancer just outpaced leukemia to become the number one cancer killer in children, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Things haven’t really changed in pediatric brain tumors, but what has changed is that our country has made enormous strides in finding new and effective treatments for children with pediatric leukemia,” said David Arons, CEO of the National Brain Tumor Society. “We want the same for children with pediatric brain tumors.”

That’s why the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and the National Brain Tumor Society are joining forces on a new initiative — The Defeat Pediatric Brain Tumors Research Collaborative.

Focused on helping kids with high-grade gliomas — including glioblastoma, DIPG, and other aggressive brain cancers with few treatment options and no standard of care — the initiative aims to not only introduce a standard of care for doctors to use to treat these kids, but also to rapidly move research forward.

What I Learned From My Daughter's DIPG Diagnosis
Usually, research is a slow, linear process, with scientists progressing from one step to the next over sometimes decades of work, Arons said. It takes time — time that kids with brain tumors don’t have.

This new project will bring together four teams of leading scientists from institutions across the globe, who will tackle the phases of research — from discovery to clinical trials — simultaneously.

From studying new targets for medicines to searching for brain cancer biomarkers to conducting single-child clinical trials, each team will focus on a distinct area while continuously sharing their findings with the whole group.

“We believe this program has the potential to accelerate scientific discovery in the field of pediatric brain tumors, and equally important, will at long last offer hope to countless families whose children’s futures need it most,” said St. Baldrick’s CEO Kathleen Ruddy.

Brooks smiles

Brooks was 5 years old when he was diagnosed with multiple high-grade gliomas.

Tracey Blackmore wants a cure for pediatric brain cancer more than anything in the world. Her son Brooks was diagnosed with high-grade gliomas when he was just 5 years old. After a long, tough road of treatment, he passed away in May.

She said:

“Hearing the words ‘I’m sorry, but there is no cure for your son’s brain tumor’ forever changed our lives. How could that even be possible? Don’t we live in a country where all things are possible? But with the launch of The Defeat Pediatric Brain Tumors Research Collaborative, we believe cures for kids like Brooks will soon be a reality. Parents faced with the same devastating news will soon be able to look past the despair and hear the words ‘options,’ ‘cure,’ ‘hope,’ and ‘future.’”

This initiative will impact not just kids like Brooks, but childhood cancer research as a whole. It’s about changing how research is done and making it better. It’s about accelerating the research for kids with these deadly tumors — for kids who don’t have the time to wait.

“We have better technology, we have more scientific talent, we have greater collaboration, we have much greater patient advocacy going on than ever before. The stars are really aligned to go after pediatric high-grade gliomas in a manner that our country was not set up to do in decades of the past,” David said. “But now we’ve arrived, and now it’s time to do it.”

Join us and help all kids with cancer get the cures they need.


Read more on the St. Baldrick’s blog: