Medulloblastoma is among the most common malignant pediatric brain tumors. Current therapy, including a combination of surgery, radiation and chemo, prolongs survival but many patients end up succumbing to their disease, and those who survive suffer severe long term side effects from the treatment. Safer and more effective treatments are needed, and these are likely to come from laboratory studies that deepen our understanding of the biology of the disease and preclinical studies that test novel approaches to therapy.
The Medulloblastoma Working Group is a multidisciplinary group of physicians, scientists and parents/advocates committed to improving outcomes for patients with medulloblastoma. In addition to planning clinical trials, the Working Group holds a monthly call to discuss topics related to medulloblastoma biology and therapy, with the goal of sharing the latest advances in medulloblastoma research, fostering collaboration between physicians and scientists, and improving the design of future clinical trials. Topics of discussion have ranged from the mechanisms of metastasis and the structure of the blood brain barrier to strategies for immunotherapy (CAR-T cells and RNA vaccines) to the safety and ethics of research biopsies. Guest speakers have done an excellent job making these discussions informative and accessible to both professionals and lay members of the group.
Going forward we will continue our discussions of topics of interest, with future sessions planned on drug delivery as well as on late effects and complications of therapy. In addition, we will invite members of the group to present new ideas for medulloblastoma clinical trials. Input from members of the group will help refine these ideas into trial concepts that can be presented at future PNOC meetings.
The Working Group comprises scientists and physicians from the US, Canada, Europe and Australia. Participants also include advocates and leaders of foundations that support medulloblastoma research, including Solving Kids Cancer, the Swifty Foundation, the Ty Louis Campbell Foundation, Wylie’s Day Foundation, the Kortney Rose Foundation, the Carson Leslie Foundation, the Alexander Munoz Memorial Fund and the Christopher Brandle Joy of Life Foundation.