How Tissue Donation Saves Lives in Childhood Cancer and Rare Diseases

For families facing the life-altering news that their child is diagnosed with cancer or a rare disease, hope can feel scarce. Traditional treatments often have limitations, and finding effective therapies for these complex conditions can be a long and arduous journey.

This is where tissue donation steps in, offering a beam of light in a seemingly dark tunnel. Among the many ways that Bridge To A Cure works towards accomplishing its mission is by strongly supporting this practice. Donated tissue samples become invaluable tools for researchers, allowing them to unlock the secrets of these illnesses and develop life-saving treatments.

Why Tissue Donation Matters for Childhood Cancers and Rare Diseases

Childhood cancers and rare diseases are different compared to adult cancers. They are often more aggressive, have unique genetic mutations, and respond differently to treatments. Due to their relative rarity, research funding and readily available tissue samples can be scarce, further hindering progress.

Donated tissue plays a critical role in this fight

Understanding the Disease: Tissue samples allow researchers to study the disease at a cellular and molecular level. This helps them identify the genetic mutations causing the illness and understand how it progresses.

Developing New Therapies: With a deeper understanding of the disease, researchers can develop targeted therapies. These therapies can be more effective for specific types of childhood cancers and rare diseases, with fewer side effects for young patients.

Testing Existing Treatments: Tissue samples allow scientists to test the efficacy of existing treatments and identify which ones work best for specific patients. This personalized approach to medicine can significantly improve treatment outcomes.

Developing Diagnostics: Tissue analysis can help develop new diagnostic tools to identify these diseases earlier and more accurately. Early detection is crucial for improving survival rates in children with cancer and rare diseases.

The Gift of a Lifetime

Without the unwavering support from organizations like Bridge To A Cure, the Children’s Brain Tumor Network (CBTN) couldn’t display the transformative power of tissue donation. Established in 2011, CBTN is the world’s largest biobank dedicated to childhood brain tumors, and Bridge To A Cure plays a vital role in its success.

With over 5,500 patients and 2,500 family members enrolled, CBTN provides a rich resource of tissue samples for researchers worldwide. This network, supported by Bridge To A Cure and other powerful organizations, operates through hospitals and research institutions across the globe. When a child undergoes surgery or a biopsy for a brain tumor, families have the option to donate a small portion of the removed tissue to CBTN.

Bridge To A Cure’s contribution to childhood brain tumor research is far-reaching through this collaborative effort. Thanks to CBTN’s vast collection of tissue samples, generously donated by families and facilitated by advocacy, researchers have made significant strides in understanding the biology of these tumors, leading to the development of new and more effective treatment strategies. This collaboration between organizations like Bridge To A Cure and CBTN is among the reasons the goal of reducing the childhood cancer death rate by 50% by 2030 is even remotely possible.

The Future of Tissue Donation

The story of the power of tissue donation is being told daily, as evidenced by the pace of advancing research for childhood cancer and rare diseases. As tissue donation programs grow and expand, we can expect even greater breakthroughs in the fight against these devastating illnesses.

Ways You Can Contribute to the Cause

Spread Awareness: Talk to your family and friends about the importance of tissue donation. You can also share information and resources from organizations like Bridge To A Cure on social media and engage with posts about these important topics.

Consider Tissue Donation: If you or someone you know has a child facing a diagnosis of cancer or a rare disease, inquire about tissue donation options at your hospital.

Give to Support Enrolled Families: Tissue donation requires the cooperation of families, doctors, coordinators, labs, and biobanks. This complex but critical web is needed to successfully make use of this fragile tissue. When you give to Bridge To A Cure, proceeds support this worldwide network and the amazing children who make this research possible.

By working together, we can ensure that tissue donation remains a beacon of hope for children facing cancer and rare diseases, offering them brighter futures and a chance to thrive.

Meet Waffles™

Waffles wants to share some fun with a young person in your life. This plush puppy is reserved for our generous donors who give $500 or more.