Why I #CareCureThrive: Dr. Martine F. Roussel, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Throughout Brain Tumor Awareness Month, we’ve shared the pediatric brain tumor community’s reasons for Why I Care, Why I Cure and Why I Thrive. As we enter the final week, Dr. Martine F. Roussel of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital touches on all three in the following reflection. Roussel’s words not only highlight the deep connection between researchers and the children they’re curing, but also the role supporters like you play in furthering research.
Why I Care.
I chose the healthcare profession with a focus on pediatric brain tumor patients because I was always interested in understanding how the brain works.
When during my research, genetically engineered animals that I generated developed medulloblastoma, I decided to focus my research program to understand this disease, develop animal models that mimic the tumors in young patients and find better therapies.
For the last 34 years, I worked as a faculty member of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital which treats many children with brain tumors for whom current therapy is often inadequate.
Every day I enter St. Jude I am reminded that some children still suffer and die from brain tumors, which gives me ever increasing motivation to keep working as hard as I can to find new, less toxic and more effective therapies.
Why I Cure.
Although a lot of progress has been made in treating brain tumors, a lot still needs to be done to limit secondary effects of therapy for the patients who are cured and to treat the most aggressive types of brain tumors for which current treatments are ineffective.
Fortunately, we now have a greater number of more targeted therapies that we, as a community, are testing in pre-clinical trials in animal models to assess their ability to inhibit tumor growth.
I believe that understanding how the tumors develop will enable us to find more targeted and hopefully less toxic therapies for children with brain tumors.
Why I Thrive.
Pediatric brain foundations have been essential to my development as a scientist in the area of pediatric brain tumors. I started my research in pediatric brain tumors 15 years ago with funding from several pediatric brain foundations that believed in me and gave me a chance to enter this field. Several of my fellows also received funding from these foundations.
I am and will be forever grateful to pediatric brain tumor foundations for their help and support. Without them, I know I would not be professionally where I am today. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Learn more about researchers’ commitment to cure, plus how you can help in our #CareCureThrive installment Why I Cure: Pediatric brain tumor researchers fighting for futures.