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The Chad Carr Pediatric Brain Tumor Center (CC-PBTC) and the ChadTough Defeat DIPG Foundation are two distinct entities, but they are closely related and work in collaboration to achieve their common goal of fighting childhood brain tumors. Just as Chad Carr (along with Michael Mosier) inspires the efforts of the ChadTough Defeat DIPG Foundation, the CC-PBTC’s efforts and progress are also inspired by Chad Carr, who fought DIPG for 14 months before passing away on November 23, 2015.

Although ChadTough Defeat DIPG pledges to fund the most promising research anywhere in the world, it is proud to be one of the largest funders of the CC-PBTC, gifting over $6M so far. And it could not be more excited for what the center has accomplished in its 5 short years!

Established in 2018, the Chad Carr Pediatric Brain Tumor Center is a specialized medical center based at University of Michigan Health C. S. Mott Children’s Hospital. When Chad was diagnosed with DIPG in 2014, there were only FOUR pediatric brain tumor researchers at Michigan Medicine, and even though the disease had been killing children for decades, little was known about these complicated, aggressive tumors. Today, the CC-PBTC is home to 45 dedicated pediatric brain tumor researchers, bringing together a multidisciplinary team of experts who work on advancing knowledge, developing new treatment approaches, and providing compassionate care to children with brain tumors. The center is directly involved in patient care, research, clinical trials, and other medical activities related to pediatric brain tumors.

Leading the Fight Against DIPG

The CC-PBTC is now considered a national center of excellence for childhood brain cancer. It has played a pivotal role in enhancing Michigan Medicine’s clinical and research capacities, spearheading promising breakthroughs in the quest for cures.

Co-directors of the CC-PBTC, Drs. Carl Koschmann and Sriram Venneti, oversee an ambitious portfolio of basic, translational, and clinical initiatives for pediatric brain tumors. These efforts include recruiting the best and brightest physician scientists and trainees, expanding leading-edge clinical trials, and providing support for families receiving care at the center. “We are very proud of the folks who are working on building our program, and the people from around Michigan and beyond who have believed in and supported the Chad Carr Pediatric Brain Tumor Center,” said Dr. Koschmann.

Collaborating Toward a Cure

CC-PBTC is a highly collaborative environment, already resulting in discoveries that have allowed for better understanding and treatment of high-risk pediatric brain tumors. In 2019, CC-PBTC was selected to join the Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium (PNOC), an international consortium with centers in the United States, Europe, Asia, and Australia. The PNOC teams are made up of leading specialists from different brain tumor treatment areas who believe that, by working collectively, bolder breakthroughs will come quicker. Through this partnership, CC-PBTC hosts two clinical trials for children and young adults with brain tumors, funded in part by the ChadTough Defeat DIPG Foundation. The CC-PBTC is also a satellite site for Children’s Brain Tumor Network (CBTN), the largest childhood brain tumor biorepository in the world. U-M sequencing data and brain tumor autopsies are deposited into CBTN in real time for collaborating researchers.

The Future is Now

The Chad Carr Pediatric Brain Tumor Center stands as a testament to the power of community and support. Remarkable strides are being made in the forefront of brain tumor treatments, offering new hope to families grappling with the weight of a devastating diagnosis. 

“We want to see a day when no family will ever have to suffer this kind of heartbreak,” Tammi Carr said. “We believe that the work happening in Chad’s name at Michigan Medicine’s Chad Carr Pediatric Brain Tumor Center will change the future for other children. This, along with the work of the ChadTough Defeat DIPG Foundation, is Chad’s legacy.”

Click here to learn more about the Chad Carr Pediatric Brain Tumor Center.

Carl Koschmann, M.D., and Sriram Venneti, M.D., Ph.D., are co-directors of the Chad Carr Pediatric Brain Tumor Center. In 2022, thanks to support from the ChadTough Defeat DIPG Foundation, Dr. Koschmann was awarded the ChadTough Defeat DIPG Research Professorship in Pediatrics. In the year prior, Dr. Venneti was named the Al and Robert Glick Family Research Professor in the Department of Pediatrics.

A professorship is among the highest honors that the University of Michigan can bestow on a faculty member. “Professorships are a prestigious recognition of both honoree and recipient,” said Dean Marschall S. Runge, M.D., Ph.D., who also serves as executive vice president for medical affairs and CEO of Michigan Medicine.

The Carr family would like to thank Regent Ron Weiser for spearheading the effort to establish the Chad Carr Pediatric Brain Tumor Center, as well as the donors who made the idea a reality, especially the Glick family and the Jones family.