I’m writing to let you know of some exciting news – a study we supported by providing Jacob’s autopsy brain tumor tissue was just published in Nature, the leading medical journal.
When Jacob died, we donated his autopsy tissue to several pediatric cancer researchers. One researcher, Dr. Michael Taylor at Toronto Sick Kids, showed that for medulloblastoma, metastases are genetically different than primary tumor.
This is a groundbreaking insight. It means we better understand why children with medulloblastoma metastases, including Jacob, die – because the drugs used to treat those kids are only designed to be effective against the primary tumor and not the metastases.
As Dr. Taylor notes, “In the dish we can cure the disease because we’re only studying the primary tumor. But then when we give the drugs to the kids they’re not working on the metastases.”
Dr. Taylor’s research predicts that drugs that block PI3 kinase signaling or AKT signaling might be effective on metastatic medulloblastoma. We hope these drugs will be tested soon. If one is found to be effective, it would be a giant step towards a better cure.
As we continue to develop our tissue donation program at Kids v Cancer, we hope this will encourage more parents of terminally-ill children to donate their child’s autopsy brain tumor tissue.