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Roger J. Packer, MD, Senior Vice President at Children’s National Health System, Named Medical Honoree from Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation

May 29, 2014

Washington, DC - Roger J. Packer, MD,  Senior Vice President, Center for Neuroscience and Behavioral Medicine at Children’s National, was named the 2014 Medical Honoree by the Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation for his innovative work and leadership in the care of children with brain tumors, where he says research is “accelerating discovery” in the field.

“He has really been a leader and a pioneer in the pediatric neurology community, with a focus on support to families. He has done so much in the field,” says Mark M. Edmiaston, president of the Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation. The non-profit organization targets improvements in treatment, quality of life, and long-term outlooks for children with brain and spinal cord tumors through support, education, advocacy, and research.

The 2014 Medical Honoree award was presented last night during the Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation’s 12th Dream and Promise Gala in New York City, the organization’s largest fundraiser. About 600 people attended the event, which raised $900,000.

Dr. Packer said he was humbled and honored by the award and that it was a tribute to the work of his team at Children’s National. “I’m very honored to receive this and to be recognized by this terrific organization,” he said. “We have clearly made progress. We are moving ahead in terms of clinical care for patients, handling the long term side effects of treatment, and seeing increased survival rates and quality of life.” Dr. Packer also leads the Gilbert Family Neurofibromatosis Institute and is director of the Brain Tumor Institute.

Over the last five years, there have been significant developments in therapies for children with brain and spinal cord tumors. Survival rates for childhood medulloblastoma, a highly malignant brain tumor, have increased to 90 percent in some in some cases; while there also have been a reduction in neurotoxic therapies.

Therapies for low-grade gliomas, types of tumors that start in the brain or spine, also have become less toxic, Dr. Packer says. “We must translate our understanding into precise, molecularly targeted therapies,” he adds.

Partnerships are the key to developing needed drugs to improve care and the effort to reduce mortalities among patients has prompted a “sense of urgency” to recognize new therapies, Dr. Packer says.

Contact: Emily Hartman or Joe Cantlupe at 202-476-4500.

About Children's National Health System

Children’s National Health System, based in Washington, D.C., has served the nation’s children since 1870. Children’s National is one of the nation’s Top 5 pediatric hospitals and, for a second straight year, is ranked No. 1 in newborn care, as well as ranked in all specialties evaluated by U.S. News & World Report. It has been designated two times as a Magnet® hospital, a designation given to hospitals that demonstrate the highest standards of nursing and patient care delivery. This pediatric academic health system offers expert care through a convenient, community-based primary care network and specialty outpatient centers in the D.C. Metropolitan area, including the Maryland suburbs and Northern Virginia. Home to the Children’s Research Institute and the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, Children’s National is the seventh-highest NIH-funded pediatric institution in the nation. Children’s National is recognized for its expertise and innovation in pediatric care and as a strong voice for children through advocacy at the local, regional and national levels. 

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