PLGA Fund at PBTF
The PLGA Fund at the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation fuels the most promising pediatric low-grade glioma and astrocytoma research in addition to equipping, educating and empowering PLGG/PLGA families with resources and a community so that they can thrive.
Following the merger of A Kids’ Brain Tumor Cure with the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation in 2018, the PLGA Fund at PBTF continues AKBTC’s work in funding research that will lead to non-toxic, more effective treatments and, ultimately, a cure. The research strategy for the PLGA Fund at PBTF is guided by six members of the PBTF’s Research Advisory Network and two internal scientific advisors.
PLGA Research Currently Funded
Over the past decade, the PLGA Fund at PBTF’s support has provided seed funding to researchers around the world. These projects have not only resulted in new targeted therapies being used in the clinics today, but have also enabled scientists to apply and win multi-million-dollar grants from the National Cancer Institute, resulting in multiple clinical trials that are shaping the direction for targeted therapies.
The PLGA Research Strategy supports projects in the areas of basic and translational science, clinical trials and education. View a complete listing of projects funded over the last dozen years on the PLGA Fund's Basic and Translational Science and Clinical Trials project pages or click a project name below to learn more about our currently funded research:
- COG ACNS 1833 Phase III Clinical Trial Comparing Functional and Quality of Life Outcomes after Selumetinib vs. Carboplatin/Vincristine in Children with Newly Diagnosed Low-Grade Glioma
- PNOC021 Phase I Trial Evaluating the Combination of Trametinib and Everolimus in Pediatric and Young Adult Patients with Recurrent Gliomas
- Phase I/II Study of MEK162 for Children with Progressive or Recurrent Low-grade Gliomas and Other Central Nervous System Tumors
- Prospective Assessment of Predictive/Prognostic Molecular Biomarkers in the SIOP-LGG 201X Adaptive Phase III Clinical Trial
- Phase I/II trial of Dabrafenib, Trametinib, and Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ)
- Functional engagement and effect of RAF-targeted therapies in glioma
- The David Andrysiak Tissue Harvesting Clinical Research Assistant at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute
- Human iPSC PLGA Models for Drug Discovery
- Optimizing Outcomes in PLGG Survivorship Study
Researchers - Apply for a Research Grant
The PLGA Fund at PBTF accepts PLGG/PLGA research grant proposals on a rolling basis. Projects may vary in length from 1 – 3 years. Novel concepts/hypotheses are encouraged and a premium is given to projects which involve collaboration between institutions and investigators. Eligible projects include basic science, translational and clinical trial initiatives as well as survivorship/outcomes studies. Click here to learn more and email PLGAresearch@curethekids.org with questions.
Families – Find the Support You Need
No family should have to face a child's brain tumor diagnosis alone. The Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation provides informational, logistical and financial support to help families navigate their journey across the full spectrum of pediatric brain tumor diagnoses. Some resources include the Starfolio Resource Notebook for newly diagnosed families, emergency financial assistance Butterfly Fund and the award-winning Imaginary Friend Society films.
Additionally, the PLGA Fund at PBTF participates in and recommends the following online support groups for those seeking comfort and support following a child’s PLGG/PLGA diagnosis:
- Pediatric Low Grade Glioma Facebook Group
- Low Grade Glioma Kids Yahoo! Group
- Optic Glioma Patients, Family, Doctors Yahoo! Group
- Pilomyxoid Astrocytoma: PMA Brain Tumors Yahoo! Group
Families - Get Involved
More than half of childhood primary central nervous system tumors are gliomas, and, unlike gliomas in adulthood, low-grade gliomas constitute the majority of pediatric gliomas. Pediatric low-grade gliomas arise throughout the nervous system. Despite their slower progression, the impact of the tumors have lasting effects on patients’ quality of life due to the lack of accessibility for safe resection and complications from current toxic medical treatments
The PLGA Fund at PBTF is accelerating the efforts of researchers at top institutions around the globe to find more effective, less toxic treatments. This research is made possible by the generosity of fundraisers, donors, and community events across the country.
Find a fundraiser or learn more about how you can support the PLGA Fund here. You can also follow the PLGA Fund at PBTF on Facebook to stay up-to-date on news and events!
The PLGA Fund at PBTF’s internal advisors harken from the scientific field and volunteer their leadership in helping shape the overall prioritized agenda for investing in PLGA science across the world.
Evan Hecker, Spero Therapeutics
Evan Hecker, Ph.D. is currently the Director of API Development at Spero Therapeutics where he leads all drug substance development and manufacturing for the growing antibiotics pipeline at Spero. Prior to that he was Director of Process Chemistry at Karyopharm Therapeutics where he led the early clinical API development of their oncology portfolio. Evan started his career in drug development at Cubist Pharmaceuticals after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University. He received his B.S. in chemistry from The College of New Jersey and worked briefly in the pharmaceutical industry before returning to school to earn his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. He and his wife Cara have three very active young boys, and Evan has been supporting the mission of A Kids Brain Tumor Cure and now the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation since his eldest son, Nathan, was diagnosed with a low-grade tumor at 4 years old. He is eager to help leverage his drug industry experience and network to accelerate any and all research the Foundation supports and is committed to finding better drugs and outcomes for our kids battling brain tumors.
Cory Johannessen, Ph.D., Novartis Institutes of Biomedical Research
Cory Johannessen, Ph.D. is the Global Co-Leader of Oncology Innovative Targets and Technologies (IT&T) at the Novartis Institutes of Biomedical Research in Cambridge MA. In this role, Cory supports novel target and biology discovery for oncology indications, as well technology development in service of target discovery and validation.
Prior to taking this leadership role, Cory led a research lab focused on understanding the genetic underpinnings of drug resistance and identifying drug combinations that prevent it in the Cancer Program at the Broad Institute. There, Cory’s deeply collaborative research team helped develop and apply functional-genetic tools for biological discovery, including next-generation barcoding libraries, saturation mutagenesis techniques and genome-scale ORF/cDNA libraries.
Prior to starting his lab at the Broad, Cory completed his postdoc at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Levi Garraway’s lab from 2008-2011, and was an Instructor of Medicine from 2011-2014, concentrating on understanding mechanisms of resistance to RAF, MEK and ERK inhibitors in BRAF-mutant melanoma. Cory completed his dissertation in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences (Ph.D.) Program at Harvard Medical School with Karen Cichowski, focusing on identifying rational, targeted therapeutics for the cancer syndrome neurofibromatosis type I (NF1). Before beginning graduate school, Cory was a technician in Leif Ellison’s lab at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center.