Physician Spotlight

Mark W. Kieran, MD, PhD Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Boston, MA Read More
Where the Money Goes

Where the Money Goes

Very few funds are available for pediatric glioma research. The fact is, anything significant has yet to be achieved in research for children who suffer from a glioma. Many of these children simply continue to die. We are just starting out on the road to changing these statistics forever. It is critical, therefore, to put every dollar possible toward research. The Prayers from Maria Foundation puts every monetary donation received toward funding the most promising research of childhood gliomas. Any expenses necessary to operate the foundation are completely raised through fundraising. Almost every dollar spent by the foundation is spent as an investment to maximize our profits and minimize our costs. Our volunteers work very hard to secure as many donations as possible for the supplies and resources needed to put on fundraising events. We have no other goal or agenda except to fund research, help families and increase awareness. Period.

To date the Foundation has announced over a million dollars in grants to fund this desperately needed research.

Our achievements are your achievements. Thank you to the many of you who give so graciously.

Click the article link to read why your donations matter:
Case Western Researchers Awarded $250,000 to Develop an Effective Treatment for Childhood Brain Tumors


Prayers from Maria funds research into cures for pediatric high-grade gliomas. This statement has three implications for our grant awards. First, we plan to fund research that narrowly focuses on curing gliomas, which are a specific form of brain tumor that starts in the body’s glial cells. Second we look to fund research that addresses the special case of pediatric gliomas. Third, we will give preferential consideration to research on innovative treatments for the particularly deadly category of gliomas known as high-grade gliomas.

Gliomas make up about half of the malignant brain tumors that are diagnosed, and they are the second greatest cause of cancer deaths among young people. Gliomas are particularly deadly because they “do not have discrete margins” and tend to be diffuse, and therefore are not generally surgically curable.1 Even though gliomas are such a significant cause of the tragic death of young people, research on gliomas is grossly underfunded.

Because of this sparse research, relatively little is known about gliomas, and pediatric gliomas are of particular concern because the knowledge we do have does not necessarily apply to children. Pediatric gliomas have different causes than adult gliomas, and therefore responses to treatment are also significantly different. The five year survival rate associated with childhood gliomas has been estimated at roughly 5-15%, whereas for adults it is 20-40%.2 Therefore pediatric gliomas should be researched separately. Of all pediatric gliomas, the most deadly are “high-grade” gliomas.

High-grade gliomas (which include supratentorial high-grade astrocytomas and diffuse brainstem gliomas) make up 15-20% of all childhood central nervous system tumors.3 Standard cancer treatments have poor outcomes in treating high-grade gliomas, and there is dire need of innovative treatments for these dangerous forms of cancer.

We follow Fisher and Buffler1 in looking to fund treatments that target differentiated forms of gliomas (rather than lumping them all together), as well as those research projects that look to understand the interactions between different treatments with each other and with other factors such as a patient’s environment and diet.

Prayers from Maria offers two-year grants. Applications are considered under a review process led by the foundation’s medical advisory board.

Latest updates on research Prayers from Maria is funding.


1 Fisher, P.G. & Buffler, P.A. (2005) “Malignant Gliomas in 2005: Where to GO From Here?” Journal of the American Medical Association, 2005; Vol. 293, No.5.

2 Tamber, M.S. & Rutka, J.T. (2003) “Pediatric supratentorial high-grade gliomas,” Neurosurg Focus, Vol.14, No.2.

3 Broniscer, A. & Gajjar, A. (2004) “Supratentorial high-grade astrocytoma and diffuse brainstem glioma: two challenges for the pediatric oncologist.” The Oncologist, Vol. 9, No. 2.