BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- Each month, “WBZ Cares” highlights a worthy non-profit organization and tells the story of what that organization does for the community. This month WBZ is profiling St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital which advances cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment.
St. Jude researcher Dr. Paul Northcott is an expert on combating brain cancer.
“Medulloblastomas is the most common malignant childhood brain tumor and it’s among a series of different brain cancers that affect young children and it occurs in about 500 patients annually in the United States. And so this is a very devastating type of tumor as you can imagine,” Northcott stated.
Northcott says there are different sub-groups of these brain cancers, “Medulloblastomas might all look very similar underneath the microscope, they’re actually very different in terms of their molecular makeup.”
Northcott says cancer treatment is tailored to these sub-groups, “Either reducing doses of radiation or chemotherapy that is applied or intensifying treatment for high risk subgroups.”
St. Jude also does research in conjunction with hospitals here in Boston.
“More recently I have been fortunate enough to team up with people like Scott Armstrong who’s the chair of Pediatric Oncology at Dana Farber. We have joint projects tackling fundamental problems in pediatric oncology,” Northcott said.
And Northcott says while they've accomplished a lot, more research needs to be done.
“I think, you know, it’s been a fantastic period to be part of this era where we now really have a much better foundation and understanding of what’s going on in these diseases but now we have to actually take this forward and show that it can benefit patients,” Northcott concluded.
WBZ NewsRadio1030's Doug Cope Reports