The Marcus Niziak Childhood Brain Tumor Fund is a public foundation established in the memory of Mark S. Niziak Jr. ("Marcus"). He was an energetic and caring boy who died of a brain tumor shortly after his 5th birthday (1990).
The purpose of this foundation is to promote and fund clinical research relating to the treatment of childhood brain tumors.
Cancer, only second to accidents, is the greatest killer of children in the modern world. Brain tumors follow leukemia as the most common cancer in children. Despite several new and promising treatment programs developed in the past five years, most children will die without benefiting from state-of-the-art treatments.
Cure rates for childhood leukemia improved from 10% in the 1950's to 70% in the 1980's, not from laboratory "breakthroughs", but primarily from the dogged work of clinicians. These dedicated individuals designed protocols, analyzed successes and failures, and carefully standardized treatment procedures.
Advances comparable to those made in the treatment of leukemia are not available to the children with a brain tumor, due to government withdrawal of funding for clinical research. Today only 30% of children diagnosed with malignant brain tumors will survive 5 years. The statistics are even more appalling beyond that period. It is the goal of the Marcus Foundation to improve the cure rates of childhood brain tumors through direct funding of organized clinical research.