Bryan and I were approached by a researcher from UT Southwestern in the waiting area the day she was diagnosed with brain cancer. “Would it be ok if Layla’s tumor was used as part of a study on cancer cell metabolism,” she asked? Without hesitation, we agreed. We knew that even if the information didn’t help Layla directly, one day it could help another child.
We had the opportunity to meet the woman who ran the research study a year later. Her name is Dr. Elizabeth Maher. I introduced myself as “Layla’s mom”, and Dr. Maher smiled and said “Of course I know Layla! Everyone in our lab knows Layla.” Dr. Maher went on the tell us that Layla was the first pediatric Medulloblastoma tumor in their study.
The research team had been unsuccessful in gaining consent from parents for years. Due to the overwhelming amount of paperwork and emotions the first day a child is diagnosed with cancer, it’s no wonder parents had a hard time digesting one more request. I’m not sure what made us say yes that day, but I’m so glad we did. Layla’s tumor is continuing to driving innovative research to understand a cancer cell’s metabolism. In a nutshell, what makes it “Go”. Watch what Dr. Maher had to say about it: