Press Release: Sheri Sobrato Brisson and Eric Brisson Join Cancer Commons to Find Better Treatment Options for Children with Brain Cancer

Sheri Sobrato Brisson (Photo by Irene Searles for; used
with permission)


Los Altos, California – January 25, 2017 – Cancer Commons, a nonprofit network of physicians, scientists and patients dedicated to helping each patient achieve the best possible outcome, announces the launch of a new program to identify personalized treatment options for children with brain cancer. The program is funded by a generous lead gift from Sheri Sobrato Brisson, a pediatric brain tumor survivor and advocate for children with serious illness, and her husband Eric Brisson.

“We are motivated to help children with brain cancer by giving their physicians and families access to the best treatment plans,” shares Sheri Sobrato Brisson. “Diagnosis is a frightening time, and patients and their families need help to quickly sort through vast, confusing amounts of information to assure them that they are making the best possible choices.”

A cancer diagnosis changes life in an instant especially when the patient is a child with brain cancer. A child’s family must make urgent life and death decisions without access to validated data and the Web is full of disorganized, out of date and contradictory information. Physicians also struggle with conflicting expert opinions and information overload, exacerbated by time constraints that limit their ability to incorporate new information. In fact, there are far more plausible hypotheses for treating cancer than there are patients available to test them in clinical trials. Not surprisingly, treatments, outcomes and quality of life vary dramatically across physicians and institutions, falling off dramatically from elite cancer centers to community practices, especially in rural, disadvantaged, and economically developing area worldwide.

In the absence of definitive clinical studies, the best way to improve outcomes is by aggregating and validating the insights and intuitions of our best clinicians, and by learning from the experiences of every patient, especially those being treated at top institutions with investigational drugs and procedures. Unfortunately, the results of these individualized experiments are seldom reported, so little is learned from them.

Our new initiative will refer pediatric brain cancer cases to expert physicians, and capture their treatment recommendations and reasoning, as well as the clinical results. Additionally, on a pilot basis, the UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute will provide treatment recommendations based on a tumor’s molecular signature through their Treehouse childhood Cancer Initiative. Cancer Commons will analyze all the data for actionable insights, and rapidly disseminate these to other patients and professionals at the point of care through a knowledge-sharing platform, called Casebook, being developed with UCSC. Casebook allows us to leverage the personalized research done for one patient to help many others, and to aggregate the experiences of all patients to optimize and expand the use of available treatments far more efficiently than standard clinical trials.

We are honored to partner with the Brissons and to draw on Sheri’s vast experience in pediatric brain cancer to bring about the best possible outcomes for children,” said Marty Tenenbaum, Founder and Chairman of Cancer Commons. Given the wide variation in treatment outcomes, Cancer Commons is convinced that getting the right knowledge to the right patient and the right physician at the right time will save many lives.

About Pediatric Brain Cancer

Approximately 4,000 children and adolescents in the U.S. are diagnosed with primary brain tumors each year. Most are initially treated within clinical trials, but those whose cancers recur require a distinct, specialized course of treatment. Our focus is on helping these patients beat the odds, and in the process accelerating research that can lead to the next generation of trials.

About Cancer Commons 

Cancer Commons is a non-profit, online community that helps identify the best options for treating an individual’s cancer through our extensive network of cancer patients, expert physicians, and scientists. By joining Cancer Commons at no cost, members contribute to and benefit from a uniquely dynamic knowledge base of case histories, treatment insights and rationales, clinical trials, and patient outcomes and experiences.  Each case builds on this collective knowledge, enabling more accurate, personalized options for the next community member.  By learning from each and every patient in this way, we can optimize and expand the use of available treatments far more efficiently than clinical trials, and rapidly improve outcomes for all patients with advanced cancer. Philanthropic support makes this possible and is much appreciated.

For more information about how to get involved and/or donate to Cancer Commons, visit



Erika Vial Monteverdi

Ph: +1 650.530.3636