Funding Opportunities

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Dr. Rishi Lulla, Executive Chair of the CBTTC, helps a patient at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago

Please select Childhood Brain Tumor Tissue Consortium Fund from the dropdown under Fund Designation.

The CBTTC is completely funded by donor support. One hundred percent of all donations go straight to the CBTTC and can be directed by area of interest. To learn how you can partner with the CBTTC, please contact Josh Walker at (267) 426-6372 or walkerjd@email.chop.edu.

  • Collecting high-quality biospecimens from all brain tumor types and annotating with long-term clinical and genomic data
  • Creating an open-access specimen and data informatics system with real-time access
  • Creating an open-access genomic analysis environment for worldwide collaboration
  • Sharing materials, data and results to stimulate and accelerate research

Philanthropic Needs of the CBTTC

The next five years are crucial to the success of the CBTTC and to brain tumor research around the world. Advancements in technology and breakthroughs in genome sequencing are providing scientists with exciting new tools through which to advance their research. The time is now for children’s hospitals to come together in search of a cure for brain cancer, and the CBTTC is prepared to continue leading the way. Here are the current funding needs of the CBTTC:

Operations

CBTTC Operations Center – $350,000 annually

The role of the CBTTC Operations Center includes receiving, processing, storing and performing quality control on specimens and clinical data submitted by the member institutions; providing data capture systems, specimen kits, and standard protocols; overseeing all applicable regulations around specimen collection and use; providing participating institutions with access to the analyzed data via the online CBTTC Data and Specimen Inventory System; hosting monthly, quarterly and yearly CBTTC meetings; maintaining a public CBTTC website to educate and inform the general public about progress in brain tumor research; and communicating with sponsors by means of written progress reports. The operations center plans to continue the expansion of the consortium to increase the number of specimens collected.

Support for the operations center is needed to fund a laboratory technician, a project manager, a specimen technician, a clinical data coordinator, a clinical research coordinator, a data analyst, saliva kits, specimen collection kits, and a portion of the cell line program.

  • Specimen Collection Kits – $12,000 annually

These kits contain the tubes and materials for collecting the tissue, blood, and CSF. Funding supports materials and overnight shipment of the specimens.

  • Saliva Collection Kits – $3,000 annually

These kits are provided to parents for the collection of saliva and for subjects that cannot give blood.

  • Cell Line Program – $76,000 annually

Cell lines are created to test new drugs on the tumors. (The cell lines themselves are covered under the overall operations center budget, but support for a cell line technician is needed and is not supported in the budget.)

  • Organ Donation Program – $20,000 annually

This much needed program supports the donation of a brain for research, and it is not covered under the operations center budget.

  • Specimen Processing Equipment Needs: (This equipment is not covered under the operating budget)
    • BioAnalyzer 2100 – $24,172
    • Tape Station 4400 – $33,128
    • Applied Biosystems® Veriti® 96-Well Fast Thermal Cycler – $7,000
    • PCR Workstation – $5,000
    • Shaker Incubator – $2,800
    • Dry baths – $1,500
    • Cryocart – $14,000
    • -80oC Freezers (2) – $21,000
    • Lab Equip – $14,000
    • QIAcube – $16,000
    • Heraeus® Pico Centrifuge – $2,415
    • Tissue Lyser – $9,500
    • Reagents and kits for DNA/RNA extraction – $112,000

Research

Fund a new CBTTC site- $75,000

The CBTTC currently has over 1,800 tumor specimens stored in its biorepository. New member sites are invited to contribute tissue samples and biospecimens to the CBTTC biorepository, which will allow the collected data to be freely shared across institutions.  Each new member site also contributes expertise and new methods to help improve treatments.  Your gift allows hospitals using different database systems to upload their data into the CBTTC database.

Discovery Cohorts (Research projects on specific tumor types) – $150,000 – $100,000

To date, the consortium has acquired over 6,000 tumor specimens, more than 2,000 unique tumor specimens, and treatment and clinical outcome information from 30 different types of pediatric brain tumors. The next step after acquiring the specimens is to sequence and upload their genetic information into the repository. This enables researchers to design new, specific ways to treat the tumors. Genomic sequencing begins with a “discovery cohort.” Each discovery cohort typically consists of 10-15 tumors, depending on the project. These cohorts lay the foundation for a variety of research and validation studies on the specific tumor subtype, and they create data that can be used repeatedly by investigators from around the world. These studies ultimately lead to new, targeted brain tumor therapies.

It costs $7,000 to sequence one tumor in a discovery cohort and $3,000 to sequence the matched blood. A $150,000 donation will allow the CBTTC to sequence 15 tumor and blood sets. A gift of $100,000 will for sequencing of 10 sets.  Genetic sequencing and research can be done on the tumor subtype of the donor’s choosing.

Funding is needed for discovery cohorts on the following tumor types:
  • Low grade glioma/astrocytoma (WHO grade I/II)
  • Ependymoma
  • High-grade glioma/astrocytoma (WHO grade III/IV)
  • Medulloblastoma
  • Ganglioglioma
  • Supratentorial or Spinal Cord PNET
  • Craniopharyngioma
  • Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumor (ATRT)
  • Meningioma
  • Brainstem glioma- Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma
  • Dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumor (DNET)
  • Metastatic secondary tumors
  • Neurofibroma/Plexiform
  • Schwannoma
  • Choroid plexus papilloma
  • Choroid plexus carcinoma
  • Oligodendroglioma
  • Dysplasia/Gliosis
  • Germinoma
  • Adenoma
  • Teratoma
  • Non-germinomatous germ cell tumor
  • Pineoblastoma
  • Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor (MPNST)
  • Chordoma
  • Neurocytoma
  • Langerhans Cell histiocytosis
  • Gliomatosis Cerebri

CBTTC Tool Kit

Informatics & the Pediatric Brain Tumor Research Tool Kit

Just like apps on a smartphone can be used to make tasks more achievable, pediatric researchers need multiple data tools, like apps, to discover breakthroughs. The CBTTC aims to simplify the banking process so that researchers and clinicians can focus on finding new treatments and caring for patients. To do this, the CBTTC is working to create push-button solutions that provide real time support in an open-access environment.

  • CBTTC Harvest Tool – $200,000 annually

This tool allows CBTTC to link a patient’s de-identified clinical data with biological specimens (tumor tissue sample) in a searchable real-time system on the web. Researchers are then able to request specimens for lab experiments and query clinical data about treatments, outcomes, and factors that may improve care for patients.

Analogy: Just like at Amazon.com, researchers can query Harvest to select the specimen they want, put it in a cart, and request it.

The Need: The CBTTC is seeking philanthropic support for the Harvest tool’s development, management and quality control programs which are supported by a developer, an information analyst, and a quality control informatician.

  • PedcBioPortal Tool – $200,000 annually

The purpose of PedcBioPortal is to gather and make available genomic data from all pediatric cancer specimens worldwide. In PedcBioPortal, the entire world’s pediatric genomic data would be processed and stored in one database. Additionally, PedcBioPortal will integrate with adult cancer data enabling researchers to more fully understand the disease.

Researchers can use the visualization tools within PedcBioPortal (graphs) to search for specific patterns in genomic data. They may request the specimens that are linked to this data and/or additional clinical data from the Harvest tool for further research. This will ultimately lead to more targeted approaches to treating cancer.

Analogy: Just like at Weather.com, researchers can look at processed genomic data to identify a hot spot.

The Need: The CBTTC is seeking philanthropic support for the development, management, and quality control program for the PedcBioPortal which are supported by a developer, a bio-informatician and an assistant developer.

  • Cavatica Tool – $600,000 annually

The Problem: Currently, there is no feasible way to store and share raw genomic data. This obstacle has led to inconsistency in research results.  When a researcher analyzes genomic information using the pipeline they have created, they will often get differing results from a second researcher who used the same genomic data but processed it with their own pipeline.

The Solution: The CBTTC seeks to solve this problem through Cavatica by providing a platform through which researchers can upload, store, and share raw genomic data along with genomic processing tools (i.e. the pipelines used to analyze them). This allows researchers to collaboratively analyze each other’s data on a cloud platform. Like PedcBioPortal, the goal of Cavatica is to compile genomic data from all pediatric cancer specimens worldwide. The integration of adult data will also make it possible for researchers to more fully understand the disease.

Analogy: Just like on Google Drive, researchers can process genomic data together at the same time and also store data and projects.

The Need: The CBTTC is seeking philanthropic support for the development and management of Cavatica’s portal which is supported by a developer, three bioinformaticians, one internal analyst, and contracts to commercial partners.

  • CBTTC Pathology Portal – $150,000 annually 

The Need: The CBTTC is seeking philanthropic support for the development and management of Pathology Imaging Portal which is supported by two internal informatic analysts, and contracts to commercial partners.

Analogy: Just like in Google Photos, researchers can share images, comment, and collaborate around a patient’s tissue slides.

This portal makes the images of house tissue slides available online for pathologists to perform central pathology reviews. These de-identified images make it possible for pathologists to view, discuss, and confirm the diagnosis of a patient.

  • New Tool Pilot Projects – $100,000

Due to the constantly evolving landscape of science and technology, it is imperative that the CBTTC continue to integrate the latest technological advancements. The exploration of new visualization platforms, new ways to curate data, and the use of artificial intelligence and other enhanced analytic tools will ensure that the latest market solutions are incorporated into the CBTTC’s brain tumor research efforts.

  • Hackathons – $200,000 per event

These events are designed to encourage worldwide collaboration through the formation of “Challenge Teams.” These teams work together to answer specific scientific questions – in this case, discovering patterns in pediatric brain tumor data. Researchers can upload raw genomic data from biological specimens, and that data, along with the pipelines used to process it, can be exported for public analysis. Anyone can participate free of charge, and prizes will be awarded to the winners of the challenge.

Download the CBTTC Information Page