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Pediatric Brain Tumor Research: Unique Challenges and Opportunities(1)

Pediatric Brain Tumor Research: Unique Challenges and Opportunities

Source: Huffington Post

At the age of 10, my friend Sydney was diagnosed with a tumor in her brainstem, the part of the brain that controls life's most vital functions. Her cancer was inoperable and did not respond to other treatments. Sydney, the most vivacious member of my fifth grade class, had her life taken by this unforgiving disease when she was only 11 years old. Pediatric brain cancer touches people's lives in a unique way. "When a tumor grows in the brain it threatens to affect the core of the self," said Dr. Sarah Leary, a physician at Seattle Children's. "The brain is the center of who we are, and it can't be removed and replaced." Couple this integral location with the fact that it's a cancer arising in children, and it's even more disturbing. The apparent randomness in the incidence of pediatric brain cancers clashes with our sense of justice and fairness. While we can look to an aging smoker who develops lung cancer and point to a lifetime of inhaling carcinogens as a causal factor, no such rationale exists with pediatric cancers. However, promising research focused specifically on pediatrics may be the key to unlocking cancer's mysteries.

About Seattle Children’s

Seattle Children’s Hospital, Foundation and Research Institute together deliver superior patient care, advance new discoveries and treatments through pediatric research, and raise funds to create better futures for patients. Consistently ranked as one of the top 10 children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Seattle Children’s Hospital specializes in meeting the unique physical, emotional and developmental needs of children from infancy through young adulthood. Through the collaboration of physicians in nearly 60 pediatric subspecialties, Seattle Children’s Hospital provides inpatient, outpatient, diagnostic, surgical, rehabilitative, behavioral, and emergency and outreach services to families from around the world.

Located in downtown Seattle’s biotech corridor, Seattle Children’s Research Institute is pushing the boundaries of medical research to find cures for pediatric diseases and improve outcomes for children all over the world. Internationally recognized investigators and staff at the research institute are advancing new discoveries in cancer, genetics, immunology, pathology, infectious disease, injury prevention, bioethics and much more.

Seattle Children’s Hospital and Research Foundation and Seattle Children’s Hospital Guild Association work together to gather community support and raise funds for uncompensated care, clinical care and research. The foundation receives nearly 80,000 gifts each year, from lemonade stand proceeds to corporate sponsorships. Seattle Children’s Hospital Guild Association is the largest all-volunteer fundraising network for any hospital in the country, serving as the umbrella organization for 450 groups of people who turn an activity they love into a fundraiser. Support from the foundation and guild association makes it possible for Seattle Children’s care and research teams to improve the health and well-being of all kids.

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