The Matthew Larson Foundation for Pediatric Brain Tumors (MLF) is a single-issue funder that supports medical and scientific research in the field of brain and spinal tumors. The foundation limits its funding to projects that deal specifically with treatments and cures for children, and has been awarding grants to researchers since 2007.
Let’s take a closer look at the types of research projects MLF funded in 2015.
Alternatives to Radiation Therapy
MLF funded a grant to Dr. Pratiti Bandopadhayay and Dr. Susan Chi of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute to study the safety of omitting radiation therapy in children with Wnt-positive medulloblastoma. Radiation therapy has significant side effects, so the researchers are looking into how to safely treat children with just surgery and chemotherapy.
Stem-Cell Drug Delivery
The second 2015 MLF grant went to Dr. Margarita Gutova at City of Hope National Medical Center. Her project is called “Human Neural Stem Cell-Mediated Drug Delivery for Targeted Treatment of Medullloblastoma,” which is the most common childhood malignant brain tumor. Prior research has shown that new treatments are needed because current therapies damage the brain and skeleton. According to the researcher:
Neural stem cells (NSCs) offer a novel way to overcome these obstacles because they can cross the BBB and migrate to and selectively target tumor cells throughout the brain. NSCs can be genetically modified to act as delivery vehicles for targeted cancer therapy, thereby increasing the tumor-localized concentrations of a drug while minimizing toxicity to normal tissues and the side effects of therapy.
Other recent grants have gone toward research into gene therapy and signaling activation to find new and better treatments than the ones that current exist. That’s been a common theme among MLF grantees, and likely one that will continue for years to come.
Something that sets this foundation apart from others in the field of pediatric brain research is the IronMatt Family Assistance Program. According to the foundation, “We are the only Foundation that gives direct financial assistance to families regardless of their socio-economic status, the type of brain tumor (malignant or not), or the progress of the disease.”
To be eligible for a grant, you must have an M.D. or Ph.D. and work at a U.S.-based nonprofit medical or scientific institution. Applicants should also hold an academic rank of assistant professor or instructor (or equivalent). Grants are awarded for up to $75,000 for a one-year period, and only direct costs are funded. Salaries, equipment, and supplies can be part of your budget as long as they are direct costs of the project. However, travel funding is specifically excluded.
The next round of medical research grants will be announced on April 1, 2016, but of course this grant cycle has already closed for new applicants. You can find important dates for the current year’s funding process on the Instructions and Application page of the foundation website.
To learn more about this funder, check out IP’s full profile, Matthew Larson Foundation for Pediatric Brain Tumors: Grants for Brain Research and Treatment.