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

Childhood Cancer

Give Kids a Lifetime

by Becky C. Weaver, Chief Mission Officer, St. Baldrick's Foundation
September 2, 2020

This year during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, while we celebrate progress, let’s spread the word that surviving five years is not enough. We need to give kids a lifetime.

ambassasdor collageEvery year we select five children – with one who has passed away from cancer representing the 1 in 5 who don’t survive. For 2020, we have six kids, in order to include twin brothers Seth and Joel, who died months apart from each other.

More than anything, Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is a time to honor the thousands of children fighting cancer as well as survivors, and to remember those we have lost. It’s a time for families to tell their stories. And it’s a time for others to listen and learn, show we care, and find ways to help.

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Childhood Cancer

World Cancer Day: Going Beyond Borders to Save Kids’ Lives

by St. Baldrick's Foundation
February 1, 2019

February 4th is World Cancer Day. Established in 2000 at the World Summit Against Cancer in Paris, World Cancer Day promotes awareness, research, and services dedicated to helping people conquer cancer.

It’s an appropriate time, then, to reflect on the efforts of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to fight childhood cancers around the world.

Founded in New York City and currently headquartered in Los Angeles, St. Baldrick’s has deep roots in the United States. But the organization has been very active beyond America’s borders, funding a variety of promising research projects that can help fight childhood cancers in the near and distant future.

Photograph of globe for World Cancer Day 2019.

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Childhood Cancer

What Are Clinical Trials? For Kids With Cancer, Clinical Trials Are a Chance at Life

by Becky Weaver
September 25, 2018


Honored Kid Micah is ready for his close-up during a hospital stay in 2015, when he was taking part in a St. Baldrick’s-funded clinical trial at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles (CHLA) for neuroblastoma, a type of childhood cancer.

For kids with cancer and their families, clinical trials mean hope. Clinical trials offer a chance for survival when all other options are exhausted. They offer kids in treatment and survivors the possibility of a better future with fewer side effects. Most of all, for all kids with cancer today and in the future, clinical trials help scientists get closer to cures.

With your help, St. Baldrick’s has been an essential part of this lifesaving research phase since 2005 — every St. Baldrick’s donor has helped make these trials possible for more than 100,000 children with cancer.

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Childhood Cancer

AML and St. Baldrick’s: A Continuing Story of Progress

by E. Anders Kolb, M.D. and Becky Chapman Weaver
April 14, 2018

AML and St. Baldrick's

With its recent commitment of $500,000 for the Target Pediatric AML initiative, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation adds another chapter to its long story of support for innovative and impactful research in childhood acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

While great progress has been made over many decades to help children survive the most common childhood cancer – acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) – the same has not held true for children with AML.

St. Baldrick’s is helping change that.

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A Force For Good: St. Baldrick’s + The Children’s Oncology Group

by Becky C. Weaver, Chief Mission Officer, St. Baldrick's Foundation
September 15, 2017

In the world of childhood cancer research, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) are two superheroes, teaming up to use their complementary strengths to save lives.

Dr. Mary Lou Schmidt with her patient, Isaac

Dr. Mary Lou Schmidt decorates pumpkins with her patient, Isaac, and his mom. Isaac is on a Children’s Oncology Group clinical trial that’s part of a unique tri-institutional clinical trial program in Chicago that’s supported by St. Baldrick’s.

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Kids with Cancer

A Childhood Saved by Research: Will’s Story [VIDEO]

by Erinn Jessop, St. Baldrick's Foundation
December 13, 2016

When Honored Kid Will was 3 years old, he was diagnosed with cancer. Now, the third grader with the dimpled smile and bright eyes is healthy, thanks to a clinical trial made possible by St. Baldrick’s funding. Read on for Will’s story of survival.


NEW VIDEO: Will’s Story >

On the surface, Will looks like any other 8-year-old boy. He loves playing soccer, camping with his family, and playing with their dog, Jack. The third grader is a big fan of superheroes and is also quite the successful fisherman.

You’d never guess that most of his young life has been spent fighting cancer.

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St. Baldrick’s Grant Gives More Kids in Chicago Access to Clinical Trials

by Erinn Jessop, St. Baldrick's Foundation
November 3, 2016

Thanks to nearly a decade of St. Baldrick’s infrastructure grants, all kids treated at three of Chicago’s largest hospitals are getting access to the clinical trials they desperately need. Read on to see how this program YOU made possible is helping find cures for kids with cancer everywhere.

Dr. Mary Lou Schmidt with her patient, Isaac

Dr. Mary Lou Schmidt decorates pumpkins with her patient, Isaac, and his mom. Isaac is on a clinical trial that’s part of a unique tri-institutional clinical trial program supported by St. Baldrick’s.

Clinical trials can be options for kids with cancer who have no options left. They can mean better chances at long, healthy lives with fewer side effects. They are hope for a cure for kids with cancer today, and for kids in the future.

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Announcing St. Baldrick’s 2015 Summer Grants

by St. Baldrick's Foundation
July 16, 2015

We have some big news that will have you jumping through the sprinkler with joy.

St. Baldrick's Foundation childhood cancer research grants

Summer has arrived and so have St. Baldrick’s Summer Grants!

Today we are awarding a whopping $21.2 million in new research grants to scientists across the globe. That’s 70 grants in 48 states and 11 countries, going to researchers making incredible gains in the fight against childhood cancer.

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Clinical Trials Open Doors for Kids With Cancer at Border Town Clinic

by Erinn Jessop, St. Baldrick's Foundation
April 20, 2015

When the Vannie E. Cook Jr. Children’s Cancer and Hematology Clinic opened in the border town of McAllen, Texas, it offered care that otherwise would have been out of reach for many kids with cancer in the area. Today its young patients have the opportunity to participate in cutting edge research — the clinic, with the support of St. Baldrick’s grants, was accepted into the Children’s Oncology Group, or COG, and is now conducting COG clinical trials.

A nurse at the Vannie Cook clinic in McAllen, Texas, laughs with Alma, a patient there who has now finished treatment.

Alma, a nurse at the Vannie Cook clinic in McAllen, Texas, laughs with Leidy, a patient there who has now finished treatment.

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