Patrick Bayly Marsano Foundation Awards $1M to Fund Precision Medicine for Rare Pediatric Brain Tumors

photo credit: John Abbott

Dr. Jeffrey Greenfield, Associate Professor of Neurological Surgery and Pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medicine and cofounder of the Weill Cornell Medicine Children’s Brain Tumor Project, was recently awarded $1.08 million in support of his precision medicine initiative. The generous gift from the Patrick Bayly Marsano Foundation will enable a tremendous increase in defining individualized cancer therapies for children with rare and inoperable pediatric brain tumors.

The gift was made in memory of Patrick, who was ten years old when he lost his life to a rare pediatric brain tumor called gliomatosis cerebri (GC). The two-year initiative will expand the lab’s cellular and molecular precision medicine approach to pediatric brain tumor therapy, with a goal of establishing safe and curative patient-specific therapies for devastating pediatric brain tumors, including GC.

Clinicians, computational biologists, neuroscientists, immunologists, biochemists, and stem cell biologists, will work together to conduct next-generation sequencing on every pediatric brain tumor resected at the Weill Cornell Medical Center—an anticipated 50 to 80 children. They will identify new mutations specific to the cell population and to the patient, and create cell repositories and mouse models to test different targeted therapeutics. Following a comprehensive review of the genetics, cell biology, and pharmacogenomics of patient-specific tumors, a customized therapeutic regimen will be determined for each patient.

Pediatric brain tumors are the most common tumors found in children, and the most fatal. The Children’s Brain Tumor Project aims to improve the outcome for children with brain tumors by advancing scientific discovery and clinical research that focuses on targeted therapy, effective drug delivery and low treatment-related toxicity. Gifts such as this brings the team closer to cures.