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Research Program

The research projects that we fund provide hope, not only for early detection and treatment of fatal tumours in children, but to pave the way for therapeutic strategies that can truly transform the lives of these children and their families.  


Funding from Meagan Bebenek Foundation supports brain tumour research at The Arthur and Sonia Brain Tumour Research Centre (BTRC). The research projects that Meagan Bebenek Foundation funds improve diagnoses, treatments and outcomes for young patients.  


The BTRC hosts the only program in Canada dedicated to paediatric brain tumour research. The bench to bedside philosophy that guides the research at the BTRC leads to advancements in clinical care and research. These advancements benefit children around the world, through knowledge gained by collaboration. You can learn more about some of the seed projects we've funded here. 

Scientist Using Microscope

The Impact of our Research

Our research has made significant contributions to understanding: 

  • The development of effective study models 

  • The factors underlying differential response to therapy in tumours 

  • The underlying mechanisms driving the aggressive nature of fatal paediatric brain tumours 

  • Key proteins and biochemical mechanisms that drive these tumours 

  • The utilization of patient-derived cultures to identify optimal treatment options tailored to individual patients 

  • The precise administration of drugs and combinations based on specific genetic mutations and pathway activations 

  • The impact of tumour cell metabolism changes on treatment resistance and cancer recurrence in MB 

  • The identification of protein EZH2 over-expression as a driver in aggressive ETMRs and ATRTs tumours 

  • The discovery of a genetic "signature" in the blood of brain tumor survivors previously treated with certain drugs, enabling earlier diagnosis of t-MDS/AML and instilling hope for improved survival rates

Child on Wheelchair

The Aim
of our Research

Our research aims to: 

  • Advance the understanding of paediatric brain tumours

  • Encourage collaboration across labs

  • Improve detection and diagnostics

  • Develop less toxic treatment options

About the BTRC

Established in 1999, the Sonia and Arthur Labatt Brain Tumour Research Centre (BTRC), housed at the Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning at SickKids, began with a team of four researchers. With the help of supporters like MBF, the BTRC has grown to become one of the largest brain tumour research centres in the world dedicated to paediatric cancer research, with over 150 researchers working together. 
Led by Dr. James Rutka, the BTRC brings together scientists and clinicians to study brain tumours, amalgamating their expertise, while sharing ideas, resources and equipment, in an atmosphere that is conducive to excellence in molecular neuro-oncology research. The BTRC also produces extensive publications concerning this work, and translational research. 
Translational research applies findings from basic science to enhance health and well-being. Funds raised through Meagan Bebenek Foundation support awareness and research about paediatric brain tumours, and have global impact, improving diagnoses, treatments and outcomes for young patients throughout the world. 

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