Eden Oyelola, in an August photo, holds a unicorn coin bank that was given to her by the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Eden, who battled a brain tumor for almost two years, died Thursday. (Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)

Eden Oyelola, whose battle with brain cancer was chronicled in a Washington Post story in September, died on Thursday, said her mother, Sara Amare.

Eden, who was 6 and lived with her family in Upper Marlboro, Md., was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in 2014. When traditional therapies failed to keep the tumor from recurring, she was enrolled earlier this year in a first-of-its kind clinical trial at Children's National Medical Center. The early-phase trial was testing a new immunotherapy drug against aggressive brain tumors.

The drug, called Keytruda, has shown impressive results in treating advanced melanoma in adults, as well as bladder and lung cancer. It was used, along with surgery and radiation, to successfully treat former president Jimmy Carter, who had melanoma. Pediatric oncologists are eager to try the drug, as well as other new immunotherapy treatments, in children who haven't recovered after receiving standard treatment.

[Doctors' last-ditch effort to save Eden using immunotherapy]

Eden got her first dose of Keytruda in June, but her tumor was growing too quickly for the drug to have the desired effect, her doctors said. As a result, she wasn't able to continue on the trial.

Eugene Hwang, a pediatric neuro-oncologist who led the trial, said that Eden's death is a "stark reminder" of the terrible plight facing children with brain cancer and their families. Brain cancer has in recent years replaced leukemia as the leading type of cancer that kills children. Although medicine has made great strides against leukemia, it has been largely stymied by aggressive brain tumors.

"Eden's family would have given anything, gone anywhere, would have traded places with her in an instant if that meant she would beat her cancer," Hwang said. "We were unable to cure her, but will remember her as an inspiration to drive all of us, every day, to find better treatments for children with brain tumors."

Read more:

Brain cancer replaces leukemia as leading cause of cancer deaths among children

Here's what you need to know about immunotherapy

An 8-year-old gets "breakthrough" treatment to fight leukemia


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