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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

Consistently ranked as one of the best children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Seattle Children’s serves as the pediatric and adolescent academic medical referral center for the largest landmass of any children’s hospital in the country (Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho). For more than 100 years, Seattle Children’s has been delivering superior patient care while advancing new treatments through pediatric research. Seattle Children’s serves as the primary teaching, clinical and research site for the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine. The hospital works in partnership with Seattle Children’s Research Institute and Seattle Children’s Hospital Foundation. For more information, visit www.seattlechildrens.org or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.