Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation
Working to eliminate the challenges
of childhood brain tumors
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Immunotherapy Research Initiative

Immunotherapy brings new hope to cancer treatment, and the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation’s  Immunotherapy Research Initiative will level the playing field for children with brain tumors.

The PBTF plans to invest a total of $2 million to advance research through this two-part initiative.

Immunotherapy is a fundamentally different approach to treating cancer, focused on strengthening the immune system’s arsenal to fight cancer cells and making these cells better targets for an immune response.

The research community’s understanding of immunotherapy for human cancer has evolved significantly over the past 20 years, to the point where certain immune-based therapies have transformed the outlook for certain diagnoses. Unfortunately, immunotherapy for human brain tumors is proving more difficult.

The time is right to fund this field of study on a much larger scale, recruiting expertise built over the past decades to solve challenges unique to children and teens with brain tumors.

This large-scale, two-part investment will generate new discoveries specific to pediatric brain tumors, inform future immunotherapy research in the field, and be relevant across different types of immunotherapy and pediatric brain tumors. 

Part 1: Strategic Participation in Brain Tumor Funders’ Collaborative

The Brain Tumor Funders’ Collaborative is comprised of leading nonprofits and private foundations united to improve survival and quality of life for brain tumor patients. The BTFC funds multi-disciplinary teams and encourages proposals that span childhood through adult age groups.

The BTFC has pooled resources from six funders, including the PBTF, to invest in four immunotherapy projects that will help bridge the translational gap in brain cancer research. Each of these three-year projects will receive $750,000 grants from the BTFC.

The PBTF’s participation in this highly collaborative funding endeavor further solidifies the group’s dedication to advancing immunotherapy research for the benefit of children and adolescents diagnosed with a brain tumor – ensuring that pediatric brain tumors are a research priority and fostering productive collaborations between researchers studying brain tumors in adults and children.

It also presents the PBTF a remarkable and rare opportunity to multiply the impact of our $450,000 contribution to this large, strategic investment.

Learn more about our investment in the BTFC and the four selected projects here.

Part 2: Request for Immunotherapy-focused Research Proposals

Parallel to our efforts with the BTFC, the PBTF will be launching a separate but complementary request for immunotherapy-focused research.

Developed under the advisement of our Research Advisory Network, this request for proposals will be aimed primarily at generating foundational knowledge about brain tumors and their interaction with the immune system.

A better understanding of the complex dynamics between the neuro-immune system, tumors and the brain is required. Filling in these knowledge gaps will provide a more informed perspective on the potential applications of this therapeutic approach and should minimize the challenges that often plague drug development for childhood cancer in general, and thwart clinical success in brain tumors particularly.

These breakthroughs don’t happen overnight, and successful treatments for other types of cancer typically don’t translate to success for brain tumors in children. Original, pediatric brain tumor-specific immunotherapy research is needed.

This initiative creates a fertile ground for discoveries that will blossom into better treatments for children.