Ivy Foundation Funds Diabetes Program


Ivy Foundation Funds Diabetes Intervention

Posted By  on July 22, 2013

Catherine Ivy and St Vincent de PaulThe Ben & Catherine Ivy Foundation (Ivy Foundation) announced its funding of the Family Wellness Program managed by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Phoenix. The Ivy Foundation is the largest privately funded brain cancer research foundation in North America; Catherine Ivy is the founder and president of the Ivy Foundation.

The Family Wellness Program is a culturally responsive diabetes intervention program which provides education, lifestyle improvement skills, medical, and counseling services to adults, children, and their families who have been diagnosed with diabetes and pre-diabetes and its associated comorbidities (two or more medical conditions present simultaneously in a patient). The overall goal is to empower these families with the knowledge, tools and skills to make health a priority throughout their lives.

Specific program objectives include:

  • Affecting lifestyle choices in food, fitness, and self-efficacy that enhance and establish ongoing positive health behaviors;
  • Increasing knowledge and skills in recognizing, managing and improving risk factors, disease, and quality of life throughout the life span;
  • Measuring health changes through objective and subjective instruments.
  • Evaluating effectiveness of and fine-tuning the model using community- based participatory research;
  • Responding to the increasing need for intervention by developing competent professionals who can replicate the model throughout the community.

“While we typically only fund brain cancer research programs, we knew the impact of this program was so strong and the need so great in our local community that we chose to support it,” said Ivy. “We also learn from the research of other diseases and this gives us a fresh perspective.”

“There is proven success with this program. The majority of participants have demonstrated significant improvements in their health as seen in laboratory markers. Patients are healthier. They come back as alumni to attend classes in order to receive continued social support for their lifestyle changes from program staff, volunteers and fellow participants,” said Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Phoenix, Executive Director Steve Zabilski. “We are grateful to the Ivy Foundation for their support of this high-impact program.”



Five Former Phillies Battle Brain Cancer Since 1973

Ex-Phillies wonder if stadium is to blame for players’ brain cancer

Randy Miller, USA TODAY Sports4:17 p.m. EDT July 22, 2013
Larry Bowa can’t help but wonder.

He gets sick to his stomach thinking about Darren Daulton, yet another former Phillies player battling brain cancer.

Pitcher Ken Brett died in 2003. Tug McGraw, a star reliever and 1980 World Series hero, and catcher Johnny Oates lost their battles in 2004. Third baseman and longtime coach John Vukovich died in 2007.

Now Daulton, star catcher on the Phillies’ beloved 1993 World Series team, is in a fight for his life at age 51. He was diagnosed this month with glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer.

“Yeah, it’s very scary,” said Bowa, who spent 24 seasons with the Phillies as a player, coach and manager. “I know cancer is a big illness in our society, but to have that many (Phillies) guys get brain cancer …”

A lot of people, former Phillies included, want to know if the illnesses are just bad luck or if there is some sort of connection — perhaps to Veterans Stadium, the multipurpose sports venue that was home to the franchise from 1971 to 2003 and demolished in 2004.

“Once it happened to Tug, we were all in shock,” said Dickie Noles, a pitcher on the Phillies’ 1980 World Series team. “Then once it happened to Vuk (Vukovich), the other ballplayers kind of had the feeling like, ‘Wow.’ Then when it happened to Daulton, every ballplayer I’ve seen talked about it.

“There seems to be some correlation with this and baseball. What was the Vet built on? Was it something in the building? The asbestos?”

Bowa said the same questions came up during recent conversations he had with former Phillies Dave Hollins, Greg Luzinski and Marty Bystrom.

“I know there were a lot of pipes that were exposed when we played there and we had AstroTurf,” recalled Bowa, now an in-studio analyst for the MLB Network.

“I’m not trying to blame anybody. It’s just sort of strange that that can happen to one team playing at the Vet.”

Five Phillies victims in such a short span is apparently a lot. National studies have indicated males have a 0.7 percent chance of being diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, with women at 0.6 percent. Local figures seem to indicate that 3.14 percent of the Phillies’ 159 players from 1973 (Brett’s only year on the team) to 1983 (Daulton’s first season with the club) were diagnosed with brain cancer.

“It is sort of wild, but probably complete coincidence,” said Dr. Richard Osenbach, a brain surgeon in Fayetteville, N.C., who grew up in Philadelphia and is a lifelong Phillies fan.

“Jeez, Louise, I can’t imagine it would have anything to do with baseball.”

So far, there’s no proof the Phillies players’ cancer cases are anything but a string of misfortunes.

“There is not a known cause for brain tumors,” according to Deneen Hesser, chief mission officer for the American Brain Tumor Association.

Other than the five Phillies, just four other major leaguers were diagnosed with brain cancers and died over the last 15 years: Hall of Famer Gary Carter, Dan Quisenberry, Bobby Murcer and Dick Howser. All of them played games at the Vet, but so did hundreds of others who have never had issues.

The Eagles also played home games at the Vet for decades and it’s believed they never had a brain cancer victim.

“Can I say definitively that it’s a fluke? No,” said Jill Barnholtz-Sloan, a Cleveland-based brain-tumor epidemiologist who does research at Case Western Reserve University.

“They all played for the Phillies, but not in the same year. One played for a year, one for 10 years. So it’s really difficult to say, ‘Oh, it’s because they played for the Phillies that this has happened.’

“Unfortunately, I think what you may end up with is just a very bizarre circumstance.”

From 1989 to 1999, Amoco, an American oil giant that later merged with British Petroleum to form BP, spent millions of dollars on a investigation after a cluster of employees at an Illinois plant were diagnosed with brain tumors and several of them died.

The Amoco Research Center building was demolished and the victims’ families won a financial settlement from the company.

But the investigation proved nothing.

“I can tell you that I know of multiple other clusters of people living in the same area who have been diagnosed with the same cancer that have been studied,” Barnholtz-Sloan said. “They’ve been investigated by state health and local health departments and, in most, they’ve not been able to find anything.

“As a brain tumor epidemiologist — and there aren’t very many of us worldwide — one of the most difficult things to prove is causation. There are so many things going on. You have to account for the way an individual lived, things that they ate, whether they smoke or drank, whether or not they had a family history of cancer, how old they were.”

The Phillies’ brain cancer cluster has not yet yielded a case study, which would be headed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

“I know the department of health is aware of the situation and is not currently conducting an investigation,” Kait Gillis, the organization’s deputy press secretary, wrote in an email. “I will let you know if that changes.”

Bowa wishes somebody would do something.

“I think for guys that are still alive, it would ease some of their questions.”

If Barnholtz-Sloan were to lead an investigation, the first thing she’d do is take a detailed look into each Phillies’ case and compare them to national figures.

“The reason cancer is called a complex disease is because it’s a combination of lots of different things happening all at the same time that cause a normal cell to convert to a cancer cell,” she explained.

Meantime, Daulton is fighting his battle against long odds. According to the American Brain Tumor Association, median survival for patients with glioblastoma is 12 to 14 months and the two-year survival rate is just 30 percent.

“It is a challenging disease, a very aggressive type of tumor, but more and more we’re learning that there are some biologic differences in these tumors,” Hesser noted. “There are long-term survivors.”

Noles and former Phillies player Glenn Wilson, both born-again Christians, are praying for their former teammate.

“I’m still kind of numb,” said Wilson, a Phillies outfielder from 1984 to 1987 who now lives in Houston. “First and foremost, God has his reasons and his ways are not our ways. I want to rejoice the lives of the ones who have passed and pray for those that are struggling with that disease.”

Noles, now working for the Phillies as an employee assistance professional, admits losing baseball friends makes him think of his mortality.

“Ain’t this crazy?” he asked. “Vukovich was one of the biggest mentors in my life and I loved Vuk dearly. Tug, I don’t think I’ve met a better person in my life. And Dutch, he’s just a great human being.

“Life is difficult and there’s bumps in the road all over the place. Cancer happens to be one of the major ones. When you hear about it, it hits home.

“I think we should be doing what we can when we’re healthy to live our life.”

Bowa is among the few with connections to all five of the cancer-stricken Phillies. He coached Daulton and was a teammate to the others.

He wants answers that aren’t there.

“It’s hard to believe that there’s no documentation. It’s very ironic that four or five of our guys have gotten brain cancer.

“It seems very, very rare.”


TGen President Speaks at Brookings Institution Biomedical Conference

TGen President Dr. Jeffrey Trent speaks at Brookings Institution biomedical conference

Dr. Trent presents TGen’s precision medicine research at the world’s most influential think tank

Dr Jeffrey Trent Outside TGen

TGen President and Research Director Dr. Jeffrey Trent speaks at Brookings Institution

WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 15, 2013 – Dr. Jeffrey Trent, President and Research Director for the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), will discuss state-of-the-art genomics research July 16 at the Brookings Institution.

Dr. Trent, Ph.D., F.A.C.M.G., and former Scientific Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, is part of a panel, Innovation in Action, at Brookings’ 2nd annual State of Biomedical Innovation Conference, which will focus on the use of novel data sources to improve medical product development and care delivery.

Specifically, Dr. Trent will discuss TGen’s ongoing work in translating genomics research into clinical benefit. TGen is one of a very few centers who are using the entire human genome in clinical trials in order to diagnose or make treatment decisions for an individual patient (precision medicine).

“The human genome will be the medical textbook for the next century and beyond,” Dr. Trent said. “By harnessing the power of the human genome, we will provide immeasurable patient benefit while at the same time reducing the time and costs of diagnosis and treatment. TGen is a global leader in clinical trials that deploy this form of innovative research.”

TGen’s translational model enables pioneering discoveries in the laboratory to be quickly moved to clinical trials where they can be used to immediately benefit patients with many types of cancer and other debilitating diseases.

Dr. Trent’s panel will be moderated by Dr. Mark B. McClellan, Director and Fellow of Brookings’ Initiative on Innovation and Value in Health Care. He is the former administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (2004-2006), and the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (2002-2004). He also served as a member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, and as senior director for health care policy at the White House (2001-2002). In these positions, he developed and implemented major reforms in health policy.

This conference is being convened by the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform at Brookings, which was established to help turn ideas for health care reform into action, including reducing gaps in insurance coverage and ensuring health care affordability. Its mission is to develop data-driven, practical policy solutions that promote broad access to high-quality, affordable and innovative care in the United States. The Center also conducts research, makes policy recommendations, and facilitates development of new consensus around key issues, providing technical support to implement and evaluate new solutions in collaboration with a broad range of stakeholders.

The conference is scheduled for 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. EDT July 16 at the Brookings Institution, Falk Auditorium, 1775 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C.  Dr. Trent’s hour-long panel is scheduled to start at 10:10 a.m.  The event will be streamed live on the Brookings website: http://www.brookings.edu/events/2013/07/16-biomedical-innovation.

About the Brookings Institution
The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, DC. Our mission is to conduct high-quality, independent research and, based on that research, to provide innovative, practical recommendations that advance three broad goals: strengthen American democracy; foster the economic and social welfare, security and opportunity of all Americans; and secure a more open, safe, prosperous and cooperative international system. Brookings is proud to be consistently ranked as the most influential, most quoted and most trusted think tank. More information: www.brookings.edu.

About TGen
Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a Phoenix, Arizona-based non-profit organization dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research with life changing results. TGen is focused on helping patients with cancer, neurological disorders and diabetes, through cutting edge translational research (the process of rapidly moving research towards patient benefit).  TGen physicians and scientists work to unravel the genetic components of both common and rare complex diseases in adults and children. Working with collaborators in the scientific and medical communities literally worldwide, TGen makes a substantial contribution to help our patients through efficiency and effectiveness of the translational process. For more information, visit: www.tgen.org.


Scientists Use a New Strategy for Brain Cancer Treatment

Brain-penetrating particle attacks deadly tumors

Jul 02, 2013 by Eric Gershon

Brain-penetrating particle attacks deadly tumors

(Phys.org) —Scientists have developed a new approach for treating a deadly brain cancer that strikes 15,000 in the United States annually and for which there is no effective long-term therapy. The researchers, from Yale and Johns Hopkins, have shown that the approach extends the lives of laboratory animals and are preparing to seek government approval for a human clinical trial.

“We wanted to make a system that would penetrate into the brain and deliver drugs to a greater volume of tissue,” said Mark Saltzman, a biomedical engineer at Yale and principal investigator of the research. “Drugs have to get to tumor cells in order to work, and they have to be the right drugs.”

Results were published July 1 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Glioblastoma multiforme is a malignant cancer originating in the brain. Median survival with standard care—surgery plus chemotherapy plus radiation—is just over a year, and the five-year survival rate is less than 10 percent.

Current methods of drug delivery have serious limitations. Oral and intravenously injected drugs have difficulty accessing the brain because of a biological defense known as the blood-brain barrier. Drugs released directly in the brain through implants can’t reach migrating tumor cells. And commonly used drugs fail to kill the cells primarily responsible for tumor development, allowing regrowth.

The researchers developed a new, ultra-small drug-delivery particle that more nimbly navigates brain tissue than do existing options. They also identified and tested an existing FDA-approved drug—a fungicide called dithiazanine iodide (DI)—and found that it can kill the most aggressive tumor-causing cells.

“This approach addresses limitations of other forms of therapy by delivering drugs directly to the area most needed, obviating systemic side-effects, and permitting the drug to reside for weeks,” said neurosurgeon Dr. Joseph M. Piepmeier, a member of the research team. Piepmeier leads clinical research for Yale Cancer Center’s brain tumor program.

The drug-loaded nanoparticles are administered in fluid directly to the brain through a catheter, bypassing the blood-brain barrier. The particles’ tiny size—their diameter is about 70 nanometers—facilitates movement within brain tissue. They release their drug load gradually, offering sustained treatment.

In tests on laboratory rats with human brain cancers, DI-loaded nanoparticles significantly increased median survival to 280 days, researchers report. Maximum median survival time for rats treated with other therapies was 180 days, and with no treatment, survival was 147 days. Tests on pigs established that the new drug-particle combination also diffuses deep into brains of large animals.

The nanoparticles are made of polymers, or strings of repeating molecules. Their size, ability to control release, and means of application help them permeate brain tissues.

Researchers screened more than 2,000 FDA-approved drugs in the hunt for candidates that would kill the cells most responsible for human tumor development, brain cancer stem cells. Overall, DI worked best.

The scientists believe the particles can be adapted to deliver other drugs and to treat other central nervous system diseases, they said.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-07-brain-penetrating-particle-deadly-tumors.html#jCp

Community Support

Community rallies behind 7-year-old leaving to undergo brain tumor treatment

Supporters sporting pink T-shirts and balloons line Main Street last week to cheer on 7-year-old Ella Hembrook. The Stoughton girl is battling a rare brain tumor, and a family friend organized a surprise sendoff for the family as it prepared to go to Boston for special treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital. [Photos by Derek Spellman]
Ella Hembrook’s brain tumor was discovered last year after a routine eye exam.
Derek Spellman

Families took to Main Street last week in a show of support for a young Stoughton girl battling a rare brain tumor.

Small crowds wearing pink shirts and waving balloons turned out Wednesday, June 19, to bid farewell to 7-year-old Ella Hembrook, who was bound for Boston to undergo eight weeks of special treatment for a tumor discovered last year. The surprise send-off, in which Hembrook and her family traveled down Main Street amid cheering crowds, was organized by family friend Katie Bridgwater.

“We’ve been planning it for weeks,” Bridgwater said. “We wanted to do it before they left (for Boston).”

Kevin Hembrook, Ella’s father, said he took both his girls to the eye doctor last year after he switched health insurances. That optometrist noticed swelling in Ella’s optic nerve and referred them to an ophthalmologist, who in turn referred the family to American Family Children’s Hospital, where an MRI found the tumor.

Ella has already had two surgeries – the first in February 2012, the second six months later. Kevin Hembrook said three months ago another MRI showed the tumor was growing again.

The family has headed to Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital for a special kind of proton beam radiation treatment there.

“Nothing is 100 percent, but I am hopeful,” Kevin Hembrook said.

Friends, meanwhile, have been rallying to the family’s support.

Three families organized garage sales earlier this month. Teachers and parents from the Stoughton Area School District responded with T-shirts, donations, ribbons and cards of support. St. Ann’s Church also helped. Verona-based Leisure Threads donated T-shirts for the sendoff. Donations have been flowing in from all over, and an account to help the family has been established at Blackhawk Credit Union.

Bridgwater said she has known the Hembrook family for three years through the Stoughton Center for Performing Arts, where Ella dances and Bridgwater’s daughter dances. When she heard of the Hembrook family’s plight, she took to Facebook to start a group to help them.

“It just kind of blossomed from there,” she said.

She wanted to organize a send-off and fundraiser, she said, to support the family because of how long they will be in Boston. Both before and after the sendoff, supporters sold T-shirts and bracelets to benefit the family and also took donations.

All the support has been welcomed, Kevin Hembrook said.

“We’ve had just awesome support from the community,” he said. “It does make things just a little easier.”

How to help

Donate a gift card, cash or cards of prayers to any of the following locations:
• Katie Bridgwater, 1309 Moline St., Stoughton
• Stoughton Center for the Performing Arts, 515 E. Main St.
• Donate through PayPal
• Drop off or send checks made out to the “Ella Bella Cinderella Fund” at Blackhawk Community Credit Union at 1525 U.S. Highway 51-138
• Use donation boxes at Stoughton Tumblers, the Performing Arts Center and Next Generation
• Follow Ella Hembrook’s progress via the family website at ellahembrook.webs.com.
• For more information, contact Katie Bridgwater at 719-9160 or email kbridg

For more information: http://www.connectstoughton.com/articles/2013/06/30/community-rallies-behind-7-year-old-leaving-undergo-brain-tumor-treatment