The N8 Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public benefit charity organization formed to help fund research, promote awareness about DIPGs and other forms of pediatric brain cancer and to assist families with children who are currently battling this horrible disease.
WHAT WE DO:
What we do is simple and can best be summed up in three words: RESEARCH – AWARENESS – SUPPORT.
On the RESEARCH front, we have partnered with many of the top DIPG research labs/teams in the country, including:
- The Monje (DIPG) Lab at Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA;
- The Pediatric Brain Cancer Lab at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA; and,
- DIPG Lab at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles in Los Angeles, CA.
We work very closely with the doctors and researchers at these facilities to ensure that any funding provided will go straight into the trenches of the battle to find a cure – and will not be wasted. The funding provided to these facilities will be used to purchase necessary research items, such as, cell culture media, antibodies, growth factor and new experimental agents from pharmaceutical companies for use in cancer testing and research. The funding provided will also be used to run research tests and experiments, including, DNA/RNA testing on tissue from biopsies, cancer drug testing and clinical trials. Our ultimate goal is to fully fund a Post-Doctoral Fellowship Program in DIPG Research (N8 Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellowship) at one or more of the above three facilities.
On the AWARENESS front, we strongly believe that awareness is one of the main keys to a cure. Brain cancer – especially in children – is one of the most horrific and tragic things imaginable; yet, despite this, it remains severely and disproportionately underfunded compared to adult cancers. In government funded programs, some recent figures place pediatric cancer research at just 4% of the total budget, with even less going toward pediatric brain cancer research. We can do better.
Finally, on the SUPPORT front, we offer and provide N8 Family Financial Assistance Grants to eligible families to use for any purpose that benefits the physical and/or mental well-being of the diagnosed child, including, but not limited to, medical or non-medical expenses, family trips, treatment related-expenses, food, gas, parking costs, etc.
WHY WE DO IT:
In a single word – Nathan.
“We decided to start the N8 Foundation for two simple reasons; because others helped us in our time of need and because more help is needed.”
Nathan Nicholas Street was diagnosed with a DIPG in January 2014 at age 7. He put up a long and hard fought battle against the disease for 13 months, undergoing a biopsy, two rounds of radiation therapy, full genome sequencing and four separate experimental chemotherapy trials. However, sadly, despite all efforts, he passed away from the disease on February 17, 2015 at age 8. Nathan was a kind-hearted, funny and gentle kid whose life was ultimately cut far too short by DIPG.
As for the name of The N8 Foundation, Nathan cleverly came up with the name on his own. Nathan was an avid BMX rider and the first number he was assigned when he first started racing (at age 5) was the number “8.” Even at that age, he figured out that if he put an “N” in front of the “8”, it would spell his name, Nate. One well-placed letter “N” sticker by mom on his number plate and he was good to go. It was meant to be. From that point forward, Nathan would shorten the spelling of his name to N8 whenever he could – and whenever his teachers would allow him to sneak it in at the top of his homework. Sadly, the number 8 also has other significance as that was Nathan’s age when he ultimately lost his battle to DIPG.
During Nathan’s final days, his family made the tremendously difficult decision to donate his tumor tissue to research to continue on with his fight for a cure. Following Nathan’s passing, his tumor tissue was donated to the Monje (DIPG) Lab at Stanford University. What Dr. Michelle Monje and her team have done since then is nothing short of amazing. They have accomplished with Nathan’s tissue samples what few researchers across the world have ever been able to do:
- They have established a durable culture of live cells lines from Nathan’s tumor tissue which are crucial for research (1 of only approximately 24 DIPG cell lines in the world!);
- Recognizing that collaboration among researchers is key, they have shipped Nathan’s cell lines to dozens of other research facilities all over the world, including the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia; and,
- In the last year, the researchers at Stanford have made major advancements in DIPG research, including extremely promising results in pre-clinical studies involving immunotherapy – using Nathan’s cell lines – which will hopefully result in the first engineered T cell-based immunotherapy trial for DIPG sometime in 2018.
While the research will never replace Nathan, we are determined to make a difference and to carry out what will one day be Nathan’s legacy – finding a cure for this horrible disease called DIPG.
A special thanks to our sponsors.
A significant portion of the money raised from fundraising events and public donations will fund research grants to the following institutions: