Groundbreaking Advancements at the Children’s Brain Tumor Network

Gift from a Child (GFAC) and the Children’s Brain Tumor Network (CBTN) work together to help create a world where no family is faced with the devastating reality of an incurable brain tumor. CBTN supports GFAC’s mission to provide families and children with the opportunity to advance pediatric cancer research through the incredible gift of brain tissue donation. The Swifty Foundation, funder of GFAC, sits on the CBTN Executive Council.

CBTN is run by the Center for Data Driven Discovery in Biomedicine (D3b) at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Researchers at CHOP have made important strides towards ending pediatric brain cancer including molecular profiling of tumor samples and the use of new imaging technology.

CBTN received a grant to cover the cost of sequencing on all samples in the CBTN biobank. This data will markedly increase the size and scale of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Atlas (PBTA) which is used by researchers around the world. The team at CBTN is analyzing this data and disseminating their findings to improve diagnostics and research. This data will greatly expand our knowledge of pediatric brain tumors.

CBTN is using this expanded PBTA to inform clinical decision-making. In 2022 D3b started the Molecular Diagnostic Research Unit (MDRU). MRDU will pilot the process of conducting genomic and expression analysis on patients during diagnosis of brain cancer. Researchers will be able to analyze a patient’s specific tumor data against the PBTA and will pair that analysis with a new method for monitoring and adjusting treatment strategies in real time. All this information will then be added back to the PBTA, offering important data for the treatment of future patients and will be available to all researchers.

While Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) has long been the main method clinicians use to monitor tumors in patients with brain cancer, it is often inexact and slow to measure changes in tumors in response to treatment. Researchers at CHOP are investigating the use of PET-MRI imaging, a more precise method of monitoring these tumors. They are also developing machine learning and AI technologies to establish better treatments for brain tumors that include prediction of tumor growth and progression.

We are proud of our partnership with CBTN and CHOP and applaud their groundbreaking advancements!

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