Fox Trot Funds Research into Causes of Pediatric Brain Tumors

March 20th, 2018

CLEVELAND, OH (March 20, 2018) – Prayers From Maria today announced it is giving a $100,000 grant to a study of genetic mechanisms behind pediatric high grade glioma brain tumors, as its findings could lead to new therapeutics designed to alter how cancer genes operate inside tumors. The two-year award, named the Josh Metzger Memorial Fox Trot Grant, is now funding the study at Case Comprehensive Cancer Center at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

Proceeds from Cleveland television station Fox 8’s 2015 annual 5k run, Fox Trot, made the grant possible that memorializes Josh Metzger, an eight-year old Barberton, Ohio boy who was lost in 2008 to a high-grade glioma, the most fatal cancer for children.

“The Metzger family had rallied around Josh to find him a cure, yet their prayers and efforts couldn’t overcome the much greater risks inherent to high-grade glioma,” said Ed McNamara, president and co-founder of Prayers From Maria. “These risks are even higher for children, as their brain tumors grow rapidly, are highly invasive and resistant to conventional treatments. This study can help lead to a cure, as it looks to pinpoint the causes for these risks to children.”

The study’s Principal Investigator is Violette Recinos, MD, director of pediatric neurosurgical oncology at the Cleveland Clinic. Her study’s focus is on drug-like molecules that inhibit harmful genetic control mechanisms inside tumors.

“We look forward to developing a new set of treatments that could improve life expectancy in children with deadly brain tumors,” said Recinos. “My team and I plan to identify specific inhibitor molecules that can be used independently or in conjunction with low-dose radiotherapy to kill tumor cells.”

The grant is also supporting the newly created Pediatric Neurosurgical Oncology Research Program at Cleveland Clinic.

“There is an urgent need for more effective childhood cancer treatments,” said Stan Gerson, director of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. “Recinos and her team of collaborators are continuing to charge in the right direction towards a cure.”

To date, Prayers From Maria has announced more than $1 million in grants to fund global research into the most promising studies. The research foundation’s 50-acre Maria’s Field of Hope sunflower garden in Avon, Ohio attracts annually thousands of visitors, while its annual summer events – The Sunflower Soiree and Sunflower Wine Festival – raise hundreds of thousands of dollars that fund research into the causes and cures for childhood gliomas. Each grant awarded by the research foundation is always named in the honor and memory of a child lost to brain cancer.