Bella Bowman Foundation Donates $75K to LSU Medical Physics Program

Gift Supports Research to Examine the Effects of Proton Radiation Therapy
on Pediatric Cancer Patients

The Bella Bowman Foundation is pleased to announce a $75,000 grant to the LSU Medical Physics program, in partnership with the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, to establish the Bella Bowman Foundation Radiation Necrosis Research Fund to examine the risks of radiation injuries to the brain as a result of proton radiation therapy.

When seven-year-old Bella Bowman was diagnosed with brain cancer in early 2011, it was a rare side effect—brain stem necrosis—from proton radiation treatment that ultimately took her life. In remembrance of their courageous little girl, Trey and Kim Bowman established the Bella Bowman Foundation to help families caring for children living with brain cancer and further research to better understand the physics of how radiation causes necrosis.
“The outreach and support to us when we were caring for Bella was overwhelming,” said Trey. “Our support system was so strong during that time and we knew it was our duty to give back.”

As Trey searched for partners to support the Foundation’s research activities he ran across an announcement about a research grant awarded to LSU’s Wayne Newhauser that focused on improving the outcomes of childhood cancer survivors. Newhauser, the Dr. Charles M. Smith Professor of Medical Physics, is also the director of the LSU Medical Physics Program and chief of physics for the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center.

“I called him and he answered,” said Trey. “I met with Wayne and found that he had done an unbelievable amount of research and he was just as passionate as we were about this.”

The partnership between the Bella Bowman Foundation and the LSU Medical Physics program began in 2013 with a seed grant of $22,000. The $75,000 gift will support research to understand the factors that contribute to radiation injuries to the brain from proton radiotherapy and develop diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to reduce the severity of radiation necrosis, and ultimately eliminate occurrences of the rare side effect.

“Radiation necrosis is difficult to diagnose and can go undetected on CT scans. The cause of this often-deadly side effect is understudied and grossly underfunded. With the help of the Bella Bowman Foundation we can work to personalize radiotherapy treatments for children and improve the outcomes for children battling cancer,” said Newhauser.

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About The Bella Bowman Foundation
The Bella Bowman Foundation aims to create and support research initiatives for pediatric brain cancer, fund educational opportunities and offer non-medical comfort care to children diagnosed with cancer and the families who care for them. The Bella Bowman Foundation was founded in 2012 and is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The Bella Bowman Foundation has a unique ability to address emerging challenges that a family faces following a child's diagnosis of cancer. Please visit www.bellabowman.org for more information or call (225) 291-9499.

About Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center
Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center is a regional cancer care organization that has been fighting cancer for more than 40 years. With five centers in Baton Rouge, Covington, Hammond, Houma and Gonzales, its service area encompasses 18 parishes across southeast Louisiana. For more information, please visit www.marybird.org .

 

 
 
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  The Bella Bowman Foundation | PO Box 82610 | Baton Rouge, LA 70884-2610
  Phone: 225.291.9499 | Fax: 225.368.1898
 
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