PBTF believes we can achieve breakthrough scientific discoveries with teamwork and collaboration, which are at the heart of the PBTF mission. The PBTF partnership with The Christopher Brandle Joy of Life Foundation (CBJOL) over the past 3 years has provided the seed funding to support Dr. Miguel Rivera’s Medulloblastoma sequencing work.  The Rivera Lab, within the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and Department of Pathology, has recently unveiled exciting discoveries in critical genetic regulation for Medulloblastoma brain tumors and has paved the way for potential NIH funding to validate the novel hypotheses further.

With both the PBTF and CBJOL foundations’ contributing $150,000 ($300,000 total), Dr. Rivera and his team could target Group 3 Medulloblastoma, a pediatric brain tumor subtype with one of the worst prognoses. The Rivera Lab analyzed pediatric tumor developmental processes using genomic technology to identify genes’ active cancer cell pathways. This approach resulted in a greater quantity of higher quality genetic information, thus furthering our understanding of this difficult-to-treat childhood brain tumor. In doing so, it unraveled the complex biology that fuels their growth.

As we learn more about the processes in which cancer cells thrive, these discoveries will serve as therapeutic targets for a more effective treatment for this pediatric brain cancer group. “Presently, the mechanisms that drive pediatric tumors are poorly understood, and existing treatments are toxic and associated with high levels of recurrence. I am thankful for the PBTF and the CBJOL. Their funding has advanced our work and points to new targets for arresting the progression of this disease,” said Dr. Rivera. “Having established proof-of-concept through this pilot study, we are excited about submitting an NIH grant proposal. If funded, it will allow us to test our hypothesis further.” (To learn more, please see Resolving Medulloblastoma Cellular Architecture by Single-Cell Genomics.)

“This is good news for families desperate for better treatments for children battling Medulloblastoma,” said Mary and Brian Brandle, CBJOL Founders. “It delighted us to partner with the PBTF to fund Dr. Rivera’s promising research. It is in perfect keeping with our foundation’s mission. We dream of the day when we can promise every child a cure, so no other family has their child’s life stolen by cancer.”

According to Courtney Davies, PBTF President and CEO. “Joining with the CBJOL to support Dr. Rivera’s research brings us one step closer to uncovering real, meaningful, scientific discoveries in one of the most challenging brain tumor diagnoses. It is fascinating and very promising work.”

The PBTF actively promotes and supports collaboration across lab groups, foundations, and institutions to maximize the impact of funding pediatric brain tumor studies. Since 1991, the PBTF has supported and partnered with organizations to invest more than $44M in scientific discovery.  Our goal is to continue this strong trajectory of partnership, especially during this time of funding setbacks from some of the more traditional funding channels experienced by many medical institutions due to COVID19.

By uniting with CBJOL and other non-profit organizations together, we can speed up discovery by continuing to fund research that drives innovation, transcends research barriers, and solves the field’s most challenging problems.

About the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation

Every day, 13 children and teens are diagnosed with a brain tumor, the deadliest form of childhood cancer. 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.

The Christopher Brandle Joy of Life Foundation

Mary and Brian Brandle established the Christopher Brandle Joy of Life Foundation in 2010 in memory of their son, Christopher, who passed away from Medulloblastoma. CBJOL provides charitable contributions to organizations dedicated to pediatric brain tumor research, primarily focusing on Medulloblastoma and financial assistance to families struggling with the costs of caring for a child stricken with a pediatric brain tumor.

Dr. Miguel N. Rivera, MD

Dr. Miguel N. Rivera is a board-certified pathologist who directs a research laboratory at the MGH Department of Pathology and the MGH Cancer Center. He also serves as an attending physician in the clinical molecular diagnostics laboratory at MGH. Dr. Rivera received an A.B. in Molecular Biology from Princeton University in 1996 and an M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 2001.


Related Updates

Pediatric Cancer Neuropsychological Needs Assessment Act Introduced in New York Legislature

Advocacy Alert

Pediatric Cancer Neuropsychological Needs Assessment Act Introduced in New York Legislature

A new bill introduced in the New York State Legislature by Senator Shelley B. Mayer and Assembly Member Christopher Burdick will help remove some of the barriers standing between children with cancer and the learning accommodations they need to succeed in school. The Pediatric Cancer Neuropsychological Needs Assessment Act (NY State S.8750) would require insurers to provide coverage for neuropsychological assessments for children diagnosed with cancer that affects brain development or function.

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