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CERN Fellowship Recipient Focuses on Improving Ependymoma Outcomes


New Discovery to Help Develop Therapies for Children with Ependymoma 

Neuro-oncologist Vijay Ramaswamy, M.D., Ph.D., is fascinated with the biology of ependymoma. His research focuses on finding new therapies for children with ependymoma to improve survival.

“Ependymoma does not respond to conventional therapy, so it’s very different than other brain tumor types,” Dr. Ramaswamy says. He practices at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada. In 2015, Dr. Ramaswamy received the inaugural CERN Basic Science Ependymoma Research Fellowship, which provided $50,000 for two years.

“The fellowship was incredibly important to me. It not only provided me with an opportunity to have protected time to focus on ependymoma research and contribute to the field, it helped me get my first faculty position,” Dr. Ramaswamy says. He completed several projects with the fellowship and generated enough data to obtain a grant from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research to continue his investigations.


One in a Million

By Katy B.

CERN Inspiration Story
As I write, I am a few months shy of the 30th anniversary of my diagnosis. I grew up in California. In early fall of 1989, I had been throwing up first thing in the morning once a week for maybe four or five months, and then feeling fine. I had a CT scan and while I sat with mom in the waiting room of my pediatrician’s office for the results, my mom tells me, “it’s a one in a million chance that anything is wrong baby girl! The doctor just wants to make sure.” I still remember the red chairs and my doctor telling me, “Katy, from the CT, um… it looks like you have a brain tumor.” I don’t remember my reaction.

My parents took me to a local cancer hospital, where I was told I was diagnosed with an ependymoma, and probably a grade II. My pediatric neurosurgeon performed the surgery to remove the tumor that was located at the base of my brain. 
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