Children's Brain Tumor Project

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The Children's Brain Tumor Project was founded in 2011 at the Weill Cornell Pediatric Brain and Spine Center. The project owes its inspiration and launch to Elizabeth Minter, whose battle with gliomatosis cerebri — a rare and inoperable brain tumor — inspired her surgeon, Dr. Jeffrey Greenfield, to undertake this groundbreaking research initiative. In starting the Children's Brain Tumor Project, Dr. Greenfield joined forces with Dr. Mark Souweidane, who had already spent a decade researching and testing alternative therapeutic delivery systems for other inoperable brain cancers, such as DIPG.

The Children's Brain Tumor Project has a single goal: to bring hope to the hundreds of patients and families each year who confront these heartbreaking diagnoses. Gliomatosis cerebri and DIPG are just two examples of the devastating brain tumors that typically strike children, adolescents, and young adults. Because they are so rare, these inoperable tumors simply do not get the funding or attention that research scientists need to find a cure.

The Weill Cornell Children's Brain Tumor Project will offer physicians the unprecedented ability to quickly identify a brain tumor's "fingerprints" at the molecular level. The genomic data allows for personalized tumor therapy and affords new hope to patients — because that information has previously been prohibitively expensive and time-consuming to obtain. The data will be available thanks to a state-of-the-art gene sequencer, which can identify each tumor's unique genomic profile, along with the laboratory staff and research scientists to interpret the data.

With that individual genetic information in hand, researchers hope to identify alternative delivery methods and drugs that specifically target each young patient's tumor. That's what makes this project unique: Dr. Greenfield's genetic research dovetails perfectly with Dr. Souweidane's research and clinical trials investigating those innovative delivery systems and agents.

The project is "powered by families" — donations come from the families, friends, and supporters of the children, adolescents, and young adults diagnosed with these tumors. In the absence of major funding from government agencies or major foundations, the Children's Brain Tumor Project is supported by those with the most at stake in this battle. We owe special debts of gratitude to the families of:

Ty Campbell
Caitlin Downing
Elizabeth Minter
Sean Ries
Cristian Rivera

as well as to the generous pediatric cancer foundations that supported the decade of Dr. Souweidane's research it took to reach the clinical trial stage for convection-enhanced delivery:

The Dana Foundation
The Cure Starts Now
The Cristian Rivera Foundation
The Beez Foundation
The Matthew Larson Foundation
St. Baldrick's
The Lyla Nsouli Foundation

Donations will also support other ongoing childhood tumor research into innovative therapies. This critical effort addresses rare, inoperable brain tumors that strike children, including: