Through Dr. Bennett's career, she hopes to improve our understanding of brain tumours in adolescents and young adults (AYA) and improve access to specialized care to treat these tumours. This is an orphan population with a paucity of dedicated research examining this age group. This research is crucial as this is at a time in life where paediatrics intersects with tumours typically seen in adults and there is a need to tailor treatment according to specific molecular and histologic diagnosis with consideration of the effects of therapy required.
Through Dr. Bennett's clinical research fellowship, she has studied the molecular alterations and clinical implications of gliomas in adolescents and young adults. This translational work has identified that approximately one-third of gliomas in AYA have a paediatric type alteration present, and would benefit from novel targeted agents when therapy is required. This has resulted in her current position as a specialist in the care of AYAs with paediatric-type brain tumours, an area with very limited study to date.
Working with a team, she has developed the Canadian Adolescent and Young Adult Neuro-Oncology Network (CANON), a multi-disciplinary national network of providers caring for AYAs with brain tumours. CANON has been successful in implementing programs to enhance molecular diagnostics for this population. They have also uncovered that a larger proportion of this population has a cancer predisposition syndrome as a result of mismatch repair deficiency. Both of these elements are crucial as they will help tailor treatment that is specific to the patient. Moving forward, Dr. Bennett hopes to continue to work within CANON and internationally to understand the biologic basis of brain tumours in AYAs and translate this to clinical care in order to improve outcomes.
1. Bennett J, Erker C, Lafay-Cousin L, Ramaswamy V, Hukin J, Vanan MI, Cheng S, Coltin H, Fonseca A, Johnston D, Lo A, Zelcer S, Alvi S, Bowes L, Brossard J, Charlebois J, Eisenstat D, Felton K, Fleming A, Jabado N, Larouche V, Legault G, Mpofu C, Perreault S, Silva M, Sinha R, Strother D, Tsang D, Wilson B, Crooks B, Bartels U. Canadian pediatric neuro-oncology standards of practice. Front Oncol. 2020 Dec 22;10:593192. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2020.593192.
2. Bennett J, Ashmawy R, Ramaswamy V, Stephens D, Bouffet E, Laperriere N, Taylor M, Shroff M, Bartels U. The clinical significance of equivocal findings on spinal MRI in children with medulloblastoma. Pediatric Blood and Cancer. 2017 Aug;64(8).