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University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Researcher Receives Grant to Aid in Pediatric Brain Tumor Research

PITTSBURGH, February 27, 2004 Marie E. Beckner, M.D., research assistant professor in the department of pathology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, has been awarded a $40,000 grant from the Nick Eric Wichman Foundation (NEWF) to continue the study of pediatric brain tumors.

Dr. Beckner, working with Ian F. Pollack, M.D., professor in the department of neurosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh, conducts ongoing research of brain tumors. Last year, the NEWF helped fund research of pediatric brain tumors, such as pilocytic astrocytomas, those occurring in the von Hippel Lindau genetic syndrome, and adaptations of brain tumor cells to low oxygen conditions during tissue invasion. Funding was provided the previous year, as well.

Nick Eric Wichman, from Ellicott City, Md., died at the age of 8 years, only a few weeks after becoming ill from an untreatable, invasive brain tumor. His parents established the foundation to fund pediatric-specific brain tumor research and increase public awareness of pediatric brain tumors with the goal of making a difference in the lives of afflicted children and their families.

"The NEWF provides valuable support for our investigations of malignant tumor behavior with an emphasis on the behavior of brain tumors that occur in children," said Dr. Beckner. "Our studies emphasize newly discovered features of these brain tumors and cell-signaling mechanisms that allow malignant adaptations needed for tissue invasion. Our goal is to understand and counteract the malignant invasiveness and growth of brain tumors with new treatments."

For more information on the foundation, please access the NEWF Web site at: www.nickwichman.com.

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