Our Focus

Our Focus

Through working collaboratively with families impacted by pediatric brain tumors, and other childhood cancer foundations, Team Jack’s involvement in the pediatric brain cancer fight is causing a worldwide ripple effect. Team Jack squeezes as much impact out of every dollar raised as possible. Impact now, not tomorrow.  Team Jack’s objective is to fund research at the top research centers in the world -- fast.  We enjoy collaborative relationships with the leading childhood cancer foundations and are at work at the world’s best research institutions.


"The Team Jack Foundation continues to lead the fight for improving the treatment options for children with brain cancer."  
- Dr. Mark W. Kieran, M.D., Ph.D.

What We Do

What We Do
What We Do

Childhood cancer is the leading cause of death for children. Death by pediatric cancer exceeds death by all other diseases, combined, in children.  What is more, is that less than 5 cents of every dollar spent by the federal governments on pediatric cancer research. Childhood cancer research is being funded, largely, by small privately run non-profit foundations like Team Jack.

Any form of childhood cancer is difficult. Children are forced to endure an unthinkable series of painstaking hardships.

While pediatric cancer as an entire disease state remains largely underfunded, the underfunding is highlighted even more when focusing on pediatric brain cancer.  Over the past thirty years, child brain cancer has slowly over taken pediatric leukemia as the leading childhood cancer cause of death.  The rationale behind this change in ranking is not due to a higher incidence in pediatric brain tumors.  Rather, it is due to an increase in survival rates of childhood leukemia, while at the same time the survival rates in childhood brain tumors have stagnated.  Flatlined. No improvement. Zero. None.

Pediatric Brain Cancer Must Be On the National Agenda

Pediatric Brain Cancer Must Be On the National Agenda
Pediatric Brain Cancer Must Be On the National Agenda

Each year approximately 4,000 kids are diagnosed with brain tumors.  These 4,000 kids are dealing with an abnormal growth in the most sensitive part of their body.  This is the part of the body that controls speech, balance, running, jumping, talking, hearing, smelling, loving, and emotionalizing all that is good about life, love and happiness.  This is not a leg pain or a shoulder bruise. This disease changes one's personality and a person's ability to be a person. And that is only if a child is lucky enough to survive the disease. It is a disease that is killing kids faster than any other childhood cancer.  It is No. 1.

While it is true that nearly 30% of all children afflicted by a brain tumor will pass from their disease, it is also true that the remaining 70% that actually survive the disease are often times left with permanent disabilities that they will spend a lifetime trying to overcome or compensate for.  Brain turmors often cause seizure disorders, memory loss, cognition problems, loss of eyesight, and other permanent deficits.  This is a lifetime disease. Forever.  That is how long kids have to fight a pediatric brain tumor, in some form, shape or fashion.

Here are the current treatment modalities – neurosurgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.  Neurosurgery.  This is the process where a neurosurgeon performs craniotomy, which is revising a part of the skull to the brain, and then attempts to distinguish abnormal cells from good brain tumor tissue, in real-time, under a microscope. With a 1-4% operating table mortality rate (depending on the institution where the surgery is performed), and the suffering of other deficits as a result of the surgery a 10% risk, this is generally the first line of defense against this disease. Chemotherapy.  Scorched earth. Want to chop down a tree in the forest? Childhood cancer medication says the best way to do that is to start a forest fire. Children are given cancer drugs that were designed for adult cancers, frequently cancers unrelated to the brain, and are approved to be administered to children.  It’s like a hail mary pass.  The first line therapy is nearly 30 years old. Once that method fails a child, the next toxic potion of adult cancer drugs is given to these kids. The side effects vary from kidney failure to secondary cancers.  Regrettably, those are small prices to pay in this business. Radiation. Depending on tumor grade, extent of resection, and practitioner’s preference, children are often times required to go through a form of radiation therapy.  While pin-point radiation methods have evolved, and are starting to be used on children, the fact remains that a child’s brain is having radiation attack it. Such exposure to a young developing brain can cause permanent neurological deficits that will forever, essentially, keep the child at the age that they were when they received the radiation. Memory loss, stroke-like symptoms, and poor brain function are all side effects of a radiated brain. The development of terminal brain cancer, at some point in the future, is also a risk of radiation therapy.

We are committed to the belief that no child should have to go through such a barbaric treatment cycle. We will not stop until pediatric oncological neurosurgeons, pediatric neuro-oncologists, and pediatric radition-oncologists are out of business. We are working to put ourselves out of business.

A Terrorizing Cancer

A Terrorizing Cancer
A Terrorizing Cancer

Thanks to the generosity of so many people involved in the Team Jack Foundation, and to the countless other foundations who have helped fund important research, there is a very bright future on the horizon for children battling brain tumors.  Every facet of pediatric brain cancer treatment is seeing vast improvements. These improvements, little by little, are helping to improve overall survival and reduce some of the permanent physical and neurological deficits in the survivors.

Neurosurgery has seen tremendous improvements in the last decade.  Top pediatric neurosurgeons throughout the country are using intraoperative MRI, drastically improving the extent of resection of child brain tumors. Other adjunctive surgical tools are being explored and developed, thanks to the work of the Team Jack Foundation and others committed to the disease. Marked improvements in this treatment modality is critical.

Chemotherapy, in which all fast growing cells in the body are affected, is slowly being replaced by targeted drug therapies. Thanks to the world leading research institutes, scientists are beginning to discover genetic mutations in child brain tumors. Genetic mutations are “glitches” that occur in pediatric brain cancer and are known as and referred to as “oncogenes.”  These “oncogenes” are like the gas pedal to a tumor.  The genetic mutation, essentially a birth defect, begins to act up and in the process causes a tumor to grow. As specific genetic mutations are discovered, scientists are working to create therapies which target these genetic mutations. As a result, instead of giving children a drug which kills all of the fastest growing cells in the human body (“scorched earth chemo”), they are given a targeted therapy which goes after, essentially, only the genetic mutation, leaving all of the other cells alone. This reduces the side effects and, hopefully, has longer term efficacy against the tumor.  Instead of chopping a tree down with a forest fire, targeted drug therapy goes after one tree with a chain saw, leaving the rest of the forest alone.  This therapy, however, is only available to those children who actually have their brain tumor tested for a genetic mutation. Regrettably, this is not offered at all children’s hospitals throughout the United States.


You Provide Hope

You Provide Hope
You Provide Hope

Another exciting area of pediatric brain tumor treatment that the Team Jack Foundation is researching is immunotherapy. By injecting modified T-cells into the human body, these new agents, in early studies, have proven to be strong cancer fighters. While research and clinical trial results are promising, this area, like all others, needs funding so that it can be explored, developed, tested and hopefully someday implemented as a treatment modality.  Accelerating that process, and other processes just like it, is where your help comes in.