Despite great progress in treating other forms of cancers, pediatric brain cancer is still deadly. Brain tumors are the single leading cause of cancer-related death in children under 14.
Existing treatments are so toxic that about 80 percent of children who do survive their diagnosis face years of difficult and painful complications. That is why pediatric brain tumor survivors have the lowest quality of life after treatment than do kids with any other type of pediatric cancer.
For every child who has received this devastating diagnosis, we need better solutions. We need treatments that cure brain cancer without damaging children’s bodies and minds. Thea’s Star of Hope was created with that goal.
Thea's Star of Hope has committed $100,000 to a clinical trial for a new treatment option for pediatric low grade gliomas, the most common brain tumors found in children. Current treatment strategies using radiation or chemotherapy are often curative but with enormous costs to the child's development and long-term function. While other trials leverage the discovery of the mutations that are the cause for approximately 90% of these tumors and use drugs that target these mutations, they are meeting with mixed success, partly due to the incomplete suppression of the mutation and the poor penetration of the currently available drugs into the brain. The TAK580 trial overcomes both of these issues with the identification of a new class of drug (called type II inhibitors) that attack almost all of the different types of mutations causing pediatric low-grade (and some high-grade) brain tumors. Importantly, the lead drug being developed in adult cancers of the body, called TAK580, has excellent penetration into the brain. Pediatric patients are not the focus of pharmaceutical company drug development or testing and so your support to help fund this trial for kids is desperately needed
The Children’s Brain Tumor Tissue Consortium (CBTTC) is an exceptional collaboration between ten research institutions that collects, stores and analyzes tumor specimens. It shares this data so all researchers can benefit from the collective knowledge. You may have heard of “big data” initiatives such as the “cancer moonshot” recently. The CBTTC has been committed to this concept for years now, and Thea’s Star of Hope is proud to have supported the CBTTC’s mission since 2011. For 2019, we are our support of their collaborative efforts, but there is no way we can get there without your help.
In 2015, we partnered with the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation (the world’s largest pediatric brain tumor organization) to launch “The Starfolio.” This resource guide provides tools and key information to recently diagnosed families. We wish it was available when Thea was diagnosed. Portfolios have been provided to hundreds of families, and now it’s time for a “upgrade.” The goal is to not only create 500 additional portfolios, but to update the content with even more valuable resources for newly diagnosed families and Thea's Star of Hope will provide a book for the kids, as well. "Thea's Story" was written and illustrated by her 4th Grade class. It chronicle's her life with a brain tumor and will provide a resource for kids who have been recently diagnosed, so that they will know that they can get through this, too.