Standard-of-care treatment for each child with cancer is primarily based on what was most effective for previous patients with the same type of disease (i.e., one treatment fits all). Precision medicine, where drugs are selected based on their ability to target the specific molecular abnormalities particular to each patient’s cancer, has tremendous potential to help children in need of new treatment options.

The goal of the BRAvE (Better Responses through Avatars and Evidence) Initiative at BC Children’s Hospital is to deliver more effective precision medicine to the largest possible number of children through cutting-edge research.

The BRAvE Initiative

Cancer in children differs from cancer in adults in key ways: the sites affected, cells of origin, number of genetic lesions, and responses to therapy. Therefore, simply applying the lessons learned from adult malignancy is not an effective approach to pediatric cancer. This is especially true of precision oncology; while similar biological pathways may be affected in adult and pediatric cancer, differences in the roles these pathways play within the different cell types that form cancers in adults and children can profoundly affect the response to a targeted drug.

To provide better evidence of drug efficacy against a child’s cancer, BRAvE proposes a series of technology platforms integrated into a singular, multi-disciplinary workflow, that will link the clinic with research labs and nucleate collaboration among pediatric oncologists, pathologists, and cancer researchers.

The BRAvE Workflow and Infrastructure Cores