Children's Brain Tumor ProjectThe Children’s Brain Tumor Project was founded in 2011 by the Weill Cornell Pediatric Brain and Spine Center, under the direction of research scientist and neurosurgeon Dr. Jeffrey Greenfield. The project owes its genesis to Elizabeth Minter, whose battle with the rare and inoperable gliomatosis cerebri inspired Dr. Greenfield to undertake his vision for this groundbreaking research initiative.

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 is just one example 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 Children’s Brain Tumor Project will utilize a state-of-the-art gene sequencer, which can identify each tumor’s unique genomic profile, along with the research scientists and technicians to interpret the data. The sequencer will offer physicians the unprecedented ability to quickly identify a brain tumor’s “fingerprints” at the genetic level. Using just a small piece of the biopsied or resected tumor allows the research team to extract RNA, which is similar to a blueprint of the genes that the cancer cells use to grow, divide, spread — and resist chemotherapy and radiation. This is technology that just recently became available, but it is still expensive and time consuming — and many physicians simply don’t have any way to understand the vast amount of information that is generated by this process.

But this important 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. Through Elizabeth’s Hope, we can make the use of this state-of-the-art diagnostic tool routine for all the young brain tumor patients at Weill Cornell’s Pediatric Brain and Spine Center.

In addition, Elizabeth’s Hope is founding a national registry to aggregate samples of these rare and inoperable tumors across the United States, accelerating the development of clinical trials, encouraging inter-institutional collaboration, and offering special hope for those patients whose tumors are so rare that minimal resources are directed towards elucidating their cause and treatment.

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

  • Gliomatosis cerebri
  • Diffuse infiltrative pontine glioma (DIPG)
  • Atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor (AT/RT)
  • Low-grade glioma

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