Dr. Neil Feldstein from our Brain Tumor Center and Pediatric Neurosurgery Center addressed attendees at the 4th Annual Dinner & Auction to benefit the Matthew Larson Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation (also called IronMatt) last month.
Dr. Feldstein’s concern for his patients was evident in his opening remarks to the audience of 660 attendees at Cipriani Wall Street. “I am very passionate about this disease and the need to cure it now, not next year or the year after.”
He stressed that there have been amazing strides in treating pediatric brain tumors. “In the last two to three decades we have seen marked improvement in the five year survival of many malignant tumors.
One of the most common pediatric brain tumors is medulloblastoma. We have gone from a 40 to 50% five year survival to upwards of 80 to 90% survival in some of the more favorable forms of medulloblastoma,” Dr. Feldstein shared.
Dr. Feldstein is a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of IronMatt, which evaluates competitive applications to award grant funds to research scientists at top academic medical centers throughout the United States. Because of the marked increase in survival, IronMatt also supports research toward quality of life after cure, not simply curing the disease.
“While there is some federal money available for basic and clinical research it is not enough for our small field and every dollar we can raise through private philanthropy and foundations like the Matthew Larson Foundation puts us that much closer to cures for these various malignant childhood brain tumors,” continued Dr. Feldstein. “Given the marked successes we have seen in the last decades there is continued optimism that we will get there. Unfortunately, for the children afflicted and their families as well as the myriad of care givers like me, it cannot be soon enough.”
This year’s event raised more than $500,000 with support from community groups, corporations, individuals, volunteers and the IronMatt Board of Directors.
The Matthew Larson Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation (IronMatt) honors the valiant life of Matthew James Larson, who succumbed to a five-year battle with brain and spinal tumors at age seven. The foundation carries Matt’s spirit in its mission to wrap a caring arm around families and publicly commit to help children that are battling pediatric brain tumors through research.
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