Funding Research

Funding Research

Nearly $3 Million Committed

The Team Jack Foundation is focused on raising money for pediatric brain cancer research.  Because of your support, and the support of all of the incredible donors from all across the country, the Team Jack Foundation has committed nearly $3,000,000 to pediatric brain cancer research since it's inception.  This includes research currently ongoing, as well as new projects that have been developed for investment by the Foundation. 

Project 1: Drug Efficacy, Genetic Mutation Identification

Project 1: Drug Efficacy, Genetic Mutation Identification
Project 1: Drug Efficacy, Genetic Mutation Identification

The Team Jack Legacy Fund by CureSearch (the predecessor to the Team Jack Foundation) awarded a $275,000 research grant to the prestigious Dana Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Medical School to help fund translational and innovative pediatric brain cancer research in January of 2013.  This research project is analyzing the efficacy of cancer drug delivery to a tumor site so as to determine whether or not efficacy is being achieved.  This project will analyze the molecular structure of existing cancer medications and re-engineer them so that they can get past the blood-brain barrier and to the tumor site for treatment efficacy. Other aspects of the project include the process of identifying other genetic mutations ("oncogenes") in pediatric brain tumors to determine what causes them to grow.  After identifying any new genetic mutations, the project will turn its focus to working towards chemically engineering a "smart drug."

Project completed:  see results here.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Charles Stiles, Director of Cancer of Biology at Harvard Medical School/Scientist-Dana Farber Cancer Institute

Project 2: Medulloblastoma Acceleration Project

Project 2: Medulloblastoma Acceleration Project
Project 2: Medulloblastoma Acceleration Project

The Team Jack Foundation in conjunction with CureSearch served as a partial sponsor on a very exciting research project relating to a specific type of pediatric brain cancer known as Medulloblastoma.  Led by William Weiss, MD, PhD at the University of California, San Francisco, this grant was awarded to investigate their hypothesis that drugs that reprogram the epigenome can improve outcomes for children with high-risk medulloblastoma.  Dr. Weiss and his team are working to develop new treatments for high-risk medulloblastoma by identifying mutations in epigenetic regulators, and using drugs that target these mutations.  

Learn project update information here.

Principal Investigator: William Weiss, MD, PhD at the University of California, San Francisco

Project 3: Phase I/II Study of MEK162

Project 3: Phase I/II Study of MEK162
Project 3: Phase I/II Study of MEK162

In October 2013, Team Jack made a $300,000 commitment to help launch a pediatric brain tumor clinical trial that had its beginnings in 2014.   This is a Phase I/II study of MEK162 for children with progressive or recurrent brain tumors.  This clinical trial will allow for a new therapy for children. The main purpose of the phase I study is to determine the most effective dosage of the drug for children and adolescents with tumors that have recurred despite standard chemotherapy treatment, and to identify the most common side effects.  Phase 1 completed in June 2017: Learn More Here.  Phase II is ongoing.

Principal Investigator:  Nathan Robison, M.D., Children's Hospital Los Angeles

Project 4: TAK580 Clinical Trial

Project 4: TAK580 Clinical Trial
Project 4: TAK580 Clinical Trial
The most common type of pediatric brain tumor possesses mainly one of two different changes or mutations in its make-up. Surgery is often not possible for these patients due to the delicate area in the brain where these tumors tend to occur. Therefore, treatment has been complicated by morbidity, and unfortunately, currently available targeted treatments only treat about 10% of patients who happen to have one of the mutations called a V600E mutation. In fact, if you treat those patients who do not have that mutation with the same drug that targets V600E, the tumor paradoxically grows. Through a number of experiments, drugs have been identified to treat those patients with the more common mutation, called a KIAA1549:BRAF truncated fusion duplication. This new drug, referred to as a Type II BRAF inhibitor, also has the potential to treat other common structure abnormalities in these tumors and therefore may provide a treatment option for the remainder of patients who have neither the V600E mutation nor the common KIAA1549:BRAF form. This drug has the potential to transform how we treat these patients and change their outcomes for the better.

Project 5: Dana- Farber Cancer Institute: Clinical Trials with Targeted Agents

Project 5: Dana- Farber Cancer Institute: Clinical Trials with Targeted Agents
Project 5: Dana- Farber Cancer Institute: Clinical Trials with Targeted Agents

Clinical Trials with Targeted Agents:  The Team Jack Foundation committed to this project in December 2017.  The support would ensure the rapid completion of accrual to both, MEK162 and TAK580, protocols, as well as support for the critical analysis of tumor material generated by these trials.  This includes not just the standard mutation analysis of the tumor material, but also the identification of secondary pathways of tumor activation and analysis of imaging correlates of tumor response.  Finally, due to the release of tumor cell DNA into the blood and possibly cerebrospinal fluid, urine and saliva, termed cell-free circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA), researchers have the possibility of detecting cell-free DNA in these fluids in a non-invasive way to diagnose and profile these tumors for the application of future targeted therapies or monitoring of response, giving them the ability to transform the care of these children.

Project 6: Team Jack Foundation - University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) Pediatric Brain Tumor Program

Project 6: Team Jack Foundation - University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) Pediatric Brain Tumor Program
Project 6: Team Jack Foundation - University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) Pediatric Brain Tumor Program

The Team Jack Foundation, in partnership Nebraska State Legislature, will commit to a $3 million project for the development of a pediatric brain tumor program at UNMC’s Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center.  Board Chair of the Team Jack Foundation, Andrew Hoffman, testified for LB 110, a legislative bill to appropriate funds for pediatric cancer specialists, at the Nebraska State Legislature's Appropriations Committee Hearing at the 2015 legislative session.  Included in the appropriation are funds to support two additional pediatric cancer specialists.  The funds appropriated by the legislation will be utilized to leverage additional private funding.  The Team Jack Foundation has committed to funding $1.5 million over six years to match these funds. Plans are currently underway in the development of this ground breaking program.  

Additional Insights

Additional Insights
Additional Insights

The Team Jack Foundation is committed to helping find a cure for pediatric brain cancer. Team Jack will work closely with its scientific advisory board and scientific advisory.

Research is needed to improve drug delivery methods, as well as identifying other possible genetic abnormalities in pediatric brain cancer that can be treated with chemically engineered "smart drugs."

The Team Jack Foundation is committed to helping defeat the No. 1 cancer cause of death in children.  

The Team Jack Foundation invites all pediatric brain tumor researchers to inquire about research grants for pediatric brain cancer research.  Other Foundations supporting pediatric brain cancer research are encouraged to share their research investment opportunities with Team Jack so as to identify possible collaborative opportunities.

Click here for more information on Team Jack Foundation sponsored grants.