Researcher Receives Grant from Foundation Created to Honor Gabriella Miller

On Aug. 26, the Smashing Walnuts Foundation awarded its first grant of $100,000 to Dr. Javad Nazarian, a Children's National researcher who focuses on diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), which comprises about 15 to 20 percent of all pediatric brain tumors. The foundation was created in honor of Gabriella Miller, who was diagnosed at age 9 with DIPG and died less than a year later. Her brain tumor was the size of a walnut, and she and her family began smashing walnuts with a frying pan as a symbolic gesture to represent smashing her tumor. “Almost 100 percent of children diagnosed with DIPG die within a few months of diagnosis,” Dr. Nazarian said. “There has been very little research done on this type of tumor, and what we are witnessing here is that the families have come to support the research.” He hopes to gain a better understanding of how the tumor forms and spreads. Gabriella achieved more than most people do in a full lifetime. Through her advocacy work, she inspired members of Congress to pass the Gabriella Miller Kids First Act, which appropriates funds to the National Institutes of Health for pediatric brain cancer research. See the Washington Post article, "Gabriella Miller's Cancer Research Foundation Awards $100,000 Grant."

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