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Local Parent Association Pushes Pediatric Brain Cancer Research Ahead

April 15, 2013

Found in News

VANCOUVER, B.C. – A critical research project looking at medulloblastoma— a form of childhood brain cancer—is underway at the BC Cancer Agency’s Genome Sciences Centre thanks to a generous $25,000 gift to the BC Cancer Foundation from the BC Childhood Cancer Parents Association (BCCCPA). 

Medulloblastomas make up 25 to 30 per cent of all childhood cancers and brain tumours are the leading cause of pediatric cancer deaths—taking a significant toll on cancer’s youngest patients and their families. The BCCCPA gift will co-fund a detailed study at the BC Cancer Agency looking at the genetic diversity of eight medulloblastoma tumours, which complements a large national project called MAGIC that has researchers analyzing the genetic make-up of 1,000 medulloblastomas. 
Understanding the biological make-up of these tumours will help to inform future treatment targets for more effective patient outcomes. 
The directors of BCCCPA know all too well the devastating effects of childhood cancer. All of the directors presently have, or have had a child with cancer, or are bereaved parents and together they share a hope for a future where scientists and clinicians have the answers that will see affected children given the prognosis of a healthy future.
“Our group knew that the BC Cancer Foundation and BC Cancer Agency’s BC Genome Science Centre’s research on the MAGIC project was the right place to invest to help us move forward and save the lives of children diagnosed with medulloblastoma,” said Dave Dunbar, BCCCPA director.  
“Our donors and supporters are very pleased to hear that our $25,000.00 contribution is turning into $50,000.00 through a “mirrored” donor program.”
Dr. Marco Marra, Director of the BC Cancer Agency’s Genome Sciences Centre is leading the study, which he and his research teams hope will provide insight into the genetic diversity of these cancers and identify specific markers that can then be used to more accurately classify the cancers for treatment in clinical trials. 
“We are so grateful for the additional support from the BC Childhood Cancer Parent’s Association, which will enable us to look at medulloblastoma samples at much greater depth. With this research, we will better understand what causes these tumours to advance, and how we can best target the cancer to increase survival and quality of life for children who are diagnosed,” said Dr. Marra. 
As the fundraising partner for the BC Cancer Agency, the BC Cancer Foundation enables donors, like the BCCCPA to have a serious impact on changing the future of cancer care for patients in BC and beyond. BCCCPA supports children on and off treatment, bereaved families and long-term survivors, many of whom have disabilities as a result of their treatments.  
For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:
Allison Colina, Communications Specialist 
BC Cancer Foundation
t. 604.707.5934 
e. allison.colina@bccancer.bc.ca 
The BC Cancer Agency, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority, is committed to reducing the incidence of cancer, reducing the mortality from cancer, and improving the quality of life of those living with cancer. It provides a comprehensive cancer control program for the people of British Columbia by working with community partners to deliver a range of oncology services, including prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment, research, education, supportive care, rehabilitation and palliative care. For more information, visit www.bccancer.ca. 
The BC Cancer Foundation is the bridge that connects philanthropic support and research breakthroughs in cancer knowledge.  As the fundraising partner of the BC Cancer Agency and the largest charitable funder of cancer research in this province, we enable donors to make contributions to leading-edge research that has a direct impact on improvements to cancer care for patients in British Columbia. We fund with the goal of finding solutions. Visit www.bccancerfoundation.com to make a donation or to learn how you can make a difference in the lives of those affected by cancer. 
The BC Childhood Cancer Parent’s Association (BCCCPA) started in 2002 and raises funds to help families who have a child with cancer and are struggling financially.  There are many instances where the costs associated with a child’s treatment are not covered, such as feeding supplies, some drugs, travel and accommodation. Usually one parent quits their job to tend to the needs of their child for a treatment regimen that may take 1 – 3 years or more.  BCCCPA’s financial support is directed through each family’s social worker at BC Children’s Hospital and other cancer treatment facilities.  Visit www.bcccpa.org to make a donation and learn more about our FUNdraisers!