Chad Carr

By Kristen Shamus, Detroit Free Press

Chad Carr’s everlasting gift to the world lies in discoveries that could lead to new cancer treatments or even a cure as scientists research the 4.6-centimeter brain tumor that took his life.

The blond-haired, charismatic grandson of former University of Michigan football legends Lloyd Carr and Tom Curtis died in November 2015, just 14 months after he was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, better known as DIPG. He was 5 years old.

University of Michigan researchers announced today that by analyzing Chad’s tumor cells, they have unearthed a new discovery with big potential: a genetic mutation called PTEN drove the growth of his cancer. The revelation carries hope for an effective treatment for some of the roughly 300 children who get the same terminal diagnosis each year in the U.S.

“Chad is changing the world,” said his mother, Tammi Carr. “This brings meaning to his short life. … To see that they’ve come through with a breakthrough is incredible.”

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