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what is the

Children’s Brain Tumor Network (CBTN)?

The Children’s Brain Tumor Network is dedicated to driving innovative discovery, pioneering new treatments and accelerating open science to improve health for all children and young adults diagnosed with a brain tumor.

By accelerating the pace of translational research and the discovery of new treatments, we are a global community with the shared goal to save children and young adults from brain tumors.

Accelerating Global Childhood Brain Tumor Research

Brain tumors are complex and difficult conditions to treat in children. This year around the world, more than 67,000 children and young adults will be diagnosed with a primary brain or central nervous system (CNS) tumor. Brain tumors are the leading cause of disease-related death in children and young adults ages 0-19 in countries including the United States, Germany, Japan, Australia, Poland, Ukraine, Indonesia, Brazil, South Africa, Cuba and Kazakhstan. The median age of death is only nine.

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Dedicated to Meeting the Needs of the Patient & Research Communities

Researchers use samples of brain tumors to learn more about their biology with the goal of developing new and more effective treatments for children. Currently there are only four drugs that are available to treat pediatric cancers and NONE of those are specifically designed to treat childhood brain tumors. Donations of brain tumor tissue and other biosamples from patients allow scientists to better understand how to target and treat these conditions. Without these precious contributions from patients and their families, the CBTN's research would not be possible.

Empowering Discovery through Data-driven Research

Samples collected from CBTN member institutions are processed and carefully stored in the CBTN's operations center located at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. These preserved specimens may then be requested by researchers and investigators who can use the samples to learn more about each of the more than 100 unique childhood brain tumor histologies. Each collected sample is paired with different types of data including clinical data from patient visits, imaging data from MRI scans, histology data from stained slides of tissue, genomic data extracted from whole genome sequencing (WGS) with paired RNAseq data and proteomic data that reveals the properties of a patient’s proteins. These data sets are reviewed for accuracy and any identifying information is removed from the data to protect the privacy of each and every research subject.

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Powerful Cloud-based Discovery Platforms Now Available

The CBTN has co-developed a suite of cloud-based data platforms that allow researchers to access these rich collections of brain tumor data from anywhere in the world. These platforms, including Cavatica, PedcBioPortal and the Kids First Data Resource Portal, are accelerating the research process and enable members of the scientific and patient communities to partner and make discoveries faster than ever before. In 2019, the CBTN launched the Pediatric Brain Tumor Atlas, which now comprises the largest collection of childhood brain tumor data in the world. This resource is helping accelerate not only brain tumor research, but is also empowering discovery for other rare childhood conditions.