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A Blood Test for Pediatric Medulloblastoma

BraveCort partners with ABC2, Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation for $250,000 Project

A collaborative research project between UCSD/Moores Cancer Center/Rady Children’s Hospital, Arizona State University and San Diego-based Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute.  BraveCort joined with Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure ( and the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation to raise a total of $250,000 in total for this project.


Immunosignatures are a new, state-of-the-art technology with the potential to make early brain

cancer detection a reality.  This new technology works by looking at how antibody signals in the blood change when the immune system – the body’s natural defense against invaders like cancer – detects a brain tumor.  Upon sensing a tumor, the immune system tries to mount an attack using antibodies that recognize unique molecular textures on the surfaces of the tumor cells.  Just a single drop of blood contains enough of these tumor-recognizing antibodies to reveal specific, accurate information about the particular characteristics of a tumor.

Simple blood tests analyzing the patterns of these tumor-recognizing antibodies, also known as immunosignatures, have already been shown by Dr. Johnston's lab in the BioDesign Institute at Arizona State to recognize different types of adult brain cancer.  Based on the success of such blood tests in adults, Dr. Bob Carter from University of California San Diego and Dr. Robert Wechsler-Reya from the Sanford-Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute came together with the Johnston group at Arizona State to apply this powerful immunosignature technology to pediatric medulloblastoma.

BraveCort Foundation at Sanford Burnham Prebys with ABC2

The goal of the collaboration is to develop immunosignature-based blood tests for detecting, classifying, and monitoring pediatric medulloblastoma over time.  As in adults, the idea is to identify different patterns of tumor-recognizing antibodies in the blood that indicate the presence/absence of medulloblastoma and differentiate between tumors of different types in children.  Once such patterns are identified, they will be examined in both established and newly improved laboratory models to verify their accuracy, determine their relationship to disease progression and therapeutic response, and inform the search for new medulloblastoma therapy targets.

If this work is successful, it could lead to blood tests that allow early detection, accurate diagnosis, and straightforward monitoring of pediatric medulloblastoma.  Together with identifying potential new targets for therapy, these advances could significantly improve childhood brain cancer treatment.

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