Among all childhood cancers, pediatric brain tumors are the most common cause of death, and there is a desperate need for new, innovative approaches to treat these diseases. Over the last few decades, we have gained a better understanding of the molecular drivers of these diseases, but it has been slow to translate these findings into clinical treatments. My work focuses on developing novel therapy options for children with central nervous system (CNS) tumors, primarily pediatric ependymoma and other high-risk tumors. 

Bertrand Research Summary

Ependymomas are primary CNS tumors and are the third most common type of pediatric brain tumor. Treatment has historically included resection, if possible, as well as radiation and chemotherapy. However, recent findings suggest that the addition of chemotherapy to the treatment strategy provides little survival benefit. I am working on developing more targeted approaches to treating these tumors.  

Advances in ependymoma research 

Advances in basic research have helped us to understand that several subgroups of ependymomas exist. These subgroups contain distinct molecular features that determine overall prognosis. Although we know the drivers of some of these tumors, we still have not been able to target them. My work in this field focuses on identifying and developing novel druggable targets for ependymomas to be used in both pre-clinical studies and clinical trials. 

Immuno-oncology for pediatric brain tumors

We are currently investigating the efficacy of CAR-T cell therapy in treating pediatric brain tumors. This therapy stands to greatly benefit our patients, especially those with high-risk disease. We will continue to develop novel, effective treatments to provide better outcomes for our patients.

Selected Publications

About Kelsey C. Bertrand

Dr. Bertrand is a pediatric neuro-oncologist who received an MS from the University of Toronto in Canada and a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery degree from the University of Queensland in Australia. She then completed a pediatric residency at the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital and a pediatric hematology-oncology fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine.

Dr. Bertrand is an Assistant Member of the St. Jude Faculty in the Neuro-Oncology Division in the Department of Oncology. She is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Her clinical and research interests pertain to advancing treatment options for children with ependymoma and immunotherapy for patients with brain tumors.

Contact us

Kelsey C. Bertrand, MD, MSc, MBBS, FAAP
Assistant Member, St. Jude Faculty
Department of Oncology
Neuro-Oncology Division 
MS 260, Room C6034

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

262 Danny Thomas Place
Memphis, TN, 38105-3678 USA
(901) 595-7425 kelsey.bertrand@stjude.org
262 Danny Thomas Place
Memphis, TN, 38105-3678 USA