On Tuesday, May 11, 2021, Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation leadership attended the American Association for Cancer Research’s (AACR) Annual Award Ceremony in recognition of the 73 outstanding scientists, including Dr. Karisa Schreck, MD, PhD, Johns Hopkins University-School of Medicine, who were awarded AACR grants in the areas of cancer research, prevention, and care.
In 2020, the PLGA Fund at the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation partnered with the AACR to conduct an RFP in the area of drug dosing for PLGA patients. The purpose of the grant was two-fold. First to expand our understanding of the mechanisms which impact drug penetration across the blood brain barrier for patients battling PLGA brain tumors, and second to expand the audience of scientists applying for grants with the PBTF beyond the pediatric cancer and brain cancer research community.
With funding from the PLGA Fund at PBTF, the AACR leveraged their impressive scientific review process to vet the applications and Dr. Schreck’s proposal was selected. Following the virtual awards ceremony, PBTF leadership had the opportunity to virtually meet with Dr. Schreck to discuss the critical nature of her research. Attendees included Courtney Davies PBTF’s President and CEO; Amy Weinstein, PBTF’s National Director of Research and Advocacy; Kristin Young, Vice Chair of PBTF’s Board of Directors and Eternal Star parent; Chase Jones, Member of PBTF’s Board of Directors and childhood brain cancer survivor; and Dr. Evan Hecker, PBTF Drug Development Liaison and parent of a pediatric brain tumor survivor.
Dr. Schreck’s project focuses on the need to bring targeted drug therapy safely and effectively to children in treatment for PLGA brain tumors when most of the available drugs have been tested only on adults. Questions specific to pediatric patients include: 1) How much of the drug will get through the blood brain barrier and penetrate the ‘target’? 2) Is the drug affecting the tumor and shrinking its growth? The outcome of this research will help inform dosing children more effectively in Phase I trials and will translate to more productive Phase II trials for brain tumor patients.
During the informal meeting, PBTF leadership also shared with Dr. Schreck our challenge for her to collaborate with other colleagues in the adult science realms so that we continue to attract a wider audience of talented scientific experts into the pediatric brain tumor field. PBTF’s goal is to leverage the AACR’s RFP infrastructure beyond the childhood cancer arena and to collaborate with the best and the brightest researchers in the fields of cancer and pharmacology who will bring best practices to the pediatric brain tumor research field.
The PBTF is grateful to the AACR for partnership in driving innovative and impactful projects in support of pediatric brain cancer science and to Dr. Schreck for her dedication to finding less toxic treatments for children battling the most common forms of pediatric brain tumors. Together we will make a difference.
About the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation
Every day, 13 children and teens are diagnosed with a brain tumor, the deadliest and most common form of cancer in kids under 15. Every day after, they are in a fight for their life. It’s a fight the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation is here to help families win. A leader in the brain tumor and childhood cancer communities, PBTF’s mission of Care. Cure. Thrive. reflects its commitment to curing all pediatric brain tumors and transforming how children and their families are cared for. Since 1991, PBTF has provided strategic leadership and funding to accelerate the number of targeted therapies for children battling brain tumors today, while equipping families with the patient family education, financial relief, and emotional support they need to navigate their child’s journey. A world without childhood brain tumors is possible when we stand together to effect real, meaningful change. Learn more at www.curethekids.org.