Another way that the CCFSupport helps to fulfill its Mission Statement: “We help families of children with cancer” – is through the funding of research projects directly related to Pediatric Cancer.
Past Programs Funded:
Genome RESEARCH (M.A.G.I.C. Project) – 2014
Researching treatment solutions “Parents Association Rallies to Support Research” A research project looking at medulloblastoma – a form of childhood brain cancer—is underway at the BC Cancer Agency’s Genome Sciences Centre. Medulloblastomas make up 25 to 30 percent of all childhood cancers, taking a significant toll on cancer’s youngest patients and their families.
The project is looking at the genetic diversity of eight medulloblastoma tumours, which complements a large national project called M.A.G.I.C. that has researchers analyzing the genetic make-up of 1,000 tumours.
Understanding the biological make-up of these tumours will help to inform future treatment targets for more effective patient outcomes. Dave Dunbar is on the Board of Directors for Childhood Cancer Family Support (formerly known as BCCCPA), which supported the research project with a generous $25,000 gift, and he knows all too well the devastating effects of childhood cancer. Dave’s son Quinn was diagnosed with medulloblastoma at just six years old. He endured over eight different forms of chemotherapy and after almost 7 years of treatments, Quinn passed away from the cancer.
“He was the happiest and smartest child you would ever meet,” remembers Dave, who hopes for a future where scientists and clinicians have the answers to select the most effective drugs and treatment regimens that will see affected children given the prognosis of a healthy future. He and his fellow directors want to see research move forward and save the lives of children diagnosed with medulloblastoma.
The research team hopes their study will provide insight into the genetic diversity of these cancers and identify specific markers that can more accurately classify the cancers for treatment in clinical trials.
To study medulloblastoma subtypes, Dr. Michael Taylor, a neurosurgeon at the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), has formed the Medulloblastoma Advanced Genomics International Consortium (M.A.G.I.C.), which is composed of more than 50 leading pediatric neuro-oncology centers from around the world. These centers have collectively contributed over 1200 high quality frozen medulloblastomas to our tumor bank, which now is the world’s largest collection of samples.
As part of a Genome Canada funded initiative, the Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre (BCGSC) has teamed up with the SickKids’ MAGIC team to study the genetic complexity of pediatric medulloblastoma, to discover novel biomarkers, and to identify new drug targets by sequencing 1000 tumor samples. The genetic data is being interpreted by computational biologists to help design and implement clinical subgroup specific tests to stratify medulloblastoma patients. After less than 16 months since project launch, the Genome Canada funded MAGIC initiative has already published two important research papers  and has demonstrated its qualities and ambitions to contribute towards the understanding and care of medulloblastoma brain cancer.
March 2014 – These samples have been successfully analysed and sequenced and the MAGIC team is now on the verge of publishing a paper that is expected to have a significant impact on researchers’ understanding of medulloblastoma and the best mechanisms for treating it.
Although the results of the study cannot be disclosed in advance of the publication, (expected within the next few months) GSC researchers confirm that it will provide answers to important research questions surrounding childhood brain cancer. As well, the results may have far-reaching implications for the clinical treatment of medulloblastoma as well as other pediatric cancers.
The BC (Michael Smith) Genome Sciences Centre:
Led by Dr. Marco Marra, they’re the 1st in the world to sequence the SARS virus, and be established as a Canadian and World Leader in DNA sequencing.