ATKINSON — The Team Jack Foundation has announced a three-year commitment to fund a $330,000 medulloblastoma research project.

The project is led by Dr. Sidharth Mahapatra at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha and will focus on high-risk medulloblastoma.

"Engaging and treating these patients has become a bit of a passion for me because I find them to be the most fragile of patients that I’ve taken care of," Dr. Mahapatra said. "Team Jack now is taking the lead in helping support me for the next few years, in a very critical time, wherein I have discovered certain promising targets and now I need the funding and support to see that through to the next stage."

While medulloblastoma is rare, it is the most common malignant childhood brain tumor, accounting for approximately 20% of the cases. Medulloblastomas are also the tumor type that claim the most lives.

Within medulloblastoma, there are four sub-types, grades one through four. Grades one and two have been researched significantly and as a result have a high cure rate. Dr. Mahapatra’s study focuses on grades three and four, the two grades that are much less studied and have a much lower cure rate.

In addition to the high-risk medulloblastoma project, the Team Jack Foundation also approved funding for Dr. Meaghann Weaver's RHYTHM Therapy project, as well as a pharmacogenomic screening study to optimize pain medications in pediatric neuro-oncology patients led by Chris Shaffer.

All three of these research projects are part of Team Jack's Power5 Pediatric Brain Tumor Initiative in which the foundation has pledged a $5 million commitment to fund areas including research (laboratory and/or clinical), education and pain management in cancer.

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