Camaro Z/28 Donated to Barrett-Jackson Auction to Benefit Cancer Research at TGen

Barrett-Jackson Cancer Research Fund at TGen established in memory of auction Chairman and CEO Craig Jackson’s father and brother

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.  — A powerful racetrack-worthy 2015 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 will be auctioned at the 45th annual Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction to raise cancer research funds for the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).

This white and black Z/28, with 505 horsepower but fewer than 500 actual miles, was given by an anonymous donor to Barrett-Jackson to support TGen. It is scheduled to cross the auction block about 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 28. The auction runs from Jan. 23-31 at WestWorld of Scottsdale.

Each year on TGen’s behalf, Barrett-Jackson helps secure and auction donated rare and classic cars, raising essential dollars for the Barrett-Jackson Cancer Research Fund at TGen, in Memory of Russ and Brian Jackson. The fund, established in 2010, is a salute to auction Chairman and CEO Craig Jackson’s father, Russ — one of the founders of Barrett-Jackson — and brother, Brian, whose lives were cut short by colon cancer.

“TGen’s cancer research is something very close to me,” said Craig Jackson, chairman and CEO of Barrett-Jackson. “I’m honored to help support this invaluable cause and to be able to do so in memory of my father and brother. It’s very moving to see the collector car community come together, bid from the heart and make a difference for organizations like TGen.”

Total giving for all charitable causes by Barrett-Jackson over the years has topped $84.6 million.

“Craig Jackson’s involvement enables TGen’s research to help patients around the world,” said Michael Bassoff, President of the TGen Foundation. “Craig and his team at Barrett-Jackson have provided the leadership necessary to bring TGen’s personalized medicine to the families that need it the most.”

The Z/28’s 7-liter, 505-horsepower, V8 engine can pull more than 1G and hit 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds. This model Z/28 has lapped Germany’s 12.9-mile Nurburgring — one of the world’s most challenging racetracks with an elevation climb of more than 1,000 feet — in 7:38.47 minutes in inclement weather.

Originally introduced in 1967, the Camaro Z/28 was designed specifically to compete in Trans-Am 2 class races. Lightweight, nimble and incredibly powerful, the original Z/28 was built to rule the road-racing circuit. The 2015 Camaro Z/28 track car carries the same racing credentials, incorporating a performance-first design philosophy that takes advantage of state-of-the-art, race-proven technology.

Since 2011, donated rare and classic automobiles sold at auction by Barrett-Jackson, and other gifts, have raised nearly $2 million for TGen cancer research. Cars previously auctioned for TGen have included a 2013 Ford Mustang 2 Door Coupe, a 2008 Shelby GT Barrett-Jackson Edition, and a 1993 Chevrolet Corvette 40th Anniversary coupe.

Craig Jackson also has acted as a national spokesperson for TGen, spreading the word about how the institute’s research may lead to improved quality of life for cancer patients.

More than 132,000 Americans will be diagnosed this year with colon or rectal cancer, and nearly 50,000 patients will succumb to these diseases, the second-leading cause of cancer-related death in the U.S.

An additional 220,000 American men this year will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, which this year will kill more than 27,000 patients, the second-leading cause of cancer death among men in the U.S.

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TGen Study Published Today Targets SGEF Protein in Treating Glioblastoma Brain Tumors

Study funded by Ivy Foundation shows SGEF plays roles in how cancer cells survive and invade brain tissue

PHOENIX, Ariz. — Jan. 13, 2016 — The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) has identified a protein called SGEF that promotes the survival of glioblastoma tumor cells and helps the cancer invade brain tissue.

TGen researchers identified SGEF as a target for new brain cancer therapies in a study published today by Molecular Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, the world’s largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research.

Glioblastoma multiforme, or GBM, is the most common primary tumor of the brain and central nervous system. One of the primary treatments for glioblastoma is surgical removal of the tumor. However, because of the aggressive way glioblastomas invade surrounding brain tissue, it is impossible to remove all parts of the tumors, and the cancer eventually returns and spreads.

This study found that SGEF also plays a role in how glioblastoma tumors develop resistance to treatment. Following surgery, GBM is treated with radiation and the standard-of-care chemotherapy drug called temozolomide (TMZ),

“We need to identify the genetic and cellular-pathway signaling mechanisms that make brain tumors resistant to treatment,” said Dr. Nhan Tran, Associate Professor and head of TGen’s Central Nervous System Tumor Research Lab.  “And the role of SGEF in promoting chemotherapeutic resistance highlights this previously unappreciated protein.  Importantly, this also suggests that SGEF could be a new candidate for development of targeted therapeutics,” said Dr. Tran, the study’s senior author.

This study was funded, in part, by The Ben & Catherine Ivy Foundation.

“Contributing to the progress, TGen studies are helping uncover the mysteries behind glioblastoma,” said Catherine (Bracken) Ivy, founder and president of the Arizona-based Ben & Catherine Ivy Foundation. “This research is fundamental to helping patients survive longer and critical to our goal of improving treatments, and eventually finding a cure.”

The ability of cancer cells to survive is influenced by the proteins that regulate cellular pathways involved in promoting how cells grow, replicate and spread, as well as whether cells will die when exposed to anti-cancer drugs. Radiation and drug treatment of GBM can lead to DNA damage. This study shows that SGEF promotes cancer cell survival in response to TMZ treatment by allowing tumor cells to rapidly repair the damaged DNA that otherwise would lead to cell death.

“Our study shows that SGEF may have an important role in helping cells survive injury — known as the pro-survival cellular signaling response — including injury to common drugs used to treat brain cancer such as TMZ,” said Dr. Shannon Fortin Ensign, the study’s lead author.

“The roles of invasion and survival are interconnected in the promotion of disease progression,” said Dr. Fortin Ensign, a former researcher at TGen who now is a resident in Internal Medicine at Scripps Green Hospital in La Jolla, Calif. “SGEF presents a novel hub in the interrelated axes of tumor cell invasion and survival.”

The study, SGEF is Regulated via TWEAK/Fn14/NF-κB Signaling and Promotes Survival by Modulation of the DNA Repair Response to Temozolomide, was published online today by AACR’s Molecular Cancer Research.

Founded in 1907, AACR is the world’s oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research and its mission to prevent and cure cancer. AACR membership includes more than 35,000 laboratory, translational and clinical researchers; population scientists; other health care professionals; and cancer advocates in 97 countries.

This study was funded by: the National Institutes of Health under grant number R01 CA130940; by the ARCS Foundation Eller Scholarship and Science Foundation Arizona Fellowship; and by The Ben & Catherine Ivy Foundation.

TGen Continues to Grow as an Economic Engine for Arizona, Creating High-Paying Jobs, State Revenues and Significant Return on Investment

Report documents TGen’s $174 million in total annual economic impact, while also attracting research dollars and advancing precision medicine

PHOENIX, Ariz. — Jan. 6, 2016 — The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) has a total annual economic impact on Arizona that has risen eight-fold over 8 years, according to an independent financial report released today.

Promised Economic Benefits: Positive Economic Benefits of TGen on the State of Arizona, produced by the independent auditing firm Tripp Umbach of Pittsburgh, shows that TGen is responsible for:

•    Producing a total annual economic impact — including commercial activities — of $174 million
•    Returning $8.7 million in annual tax revenues to the State of Arizona general fund, exceeding its historic 2:1 return on investment
•    Providing a rate of return in the form of direct economic impact of $46.50 for every $1 invested by the state
•    Creating more than 1,400 jobs

“As the anchor for the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, TGen is a vital economic engine that provides a significant return on investment to the State of Arizona,” said Arizona Governor Doug Ducey.

The $174 million in total annual economic impact is eight times what it was ($21.7 million) in 2006.

“Despite the recent economic environment, government budget limitations and increased competition for research grants, TGen has managed to produce and grow a highly significant economic return for Arizona,” said TGen Chief Operating Officer Tess Burleson.

“Moving forward, TGen continues to pursue new standards for medical care, leading to improvements in human health and wellness, as well as the increased associated economic impact,” added Dr. Jeffrey Trent, TGen President and Research Director.

This analysis of TGen’s economic impact for 2014, the last full fiscal year, is the fourth conducted for TGen by Tripp Umbach. Others were completed for fiscal years 2006, 2009, and 2011.

“TGen is a global leader in genomics research, generating both economic, social, scientific and health benefits for Arizona,” said William J. “Bill” Post, TGen Board Chair and former Chair of Arizona Public Service Co. and Pinnacle West Capital Corporation. “TGen is recognized both nationally and internationally, bringing global distinction to Arizona’s bioscience industry.”

One of the most important findings in the new report from Tripp Umbach is that, even in an increasingly competitive funding environment, TGen’s economic impact has increased significantly since 2010.

The total annual operational economic impact of TGen grew to $174 million in 2014, from $137 million in 2010, an increase of more than 27 percent. Meantime, research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is an estimated 25 percent less in 2014, than in 2003, when converted to constant dollars.

TGen’s significant contribution to Arizona’s economy

According to the report, the combined economic impact of TGen’s operations, the commercialization of research conducted through TGen partnerships, and the operations of TGen-related business spin-offs, represents a significant contribution to Arizona’s economy.

TGen creates “highly-compensated, knowledge-based” jobs, according to the report, directly and indirectly generating full-time employment for 664 Arizona residents. Including the employment from spin-off companies TGen was responsible for more Arizona jobs in 2014 (1,428), than in 2010 (1,124).

Tax revenues for the State of Arizona generated annually by TGen and its spin-off companies grew to $8.7 million in 2014, from $6.9 million in 2010, an increase of more than 26 percent. This return exceeds historic levels from past economic analyses and represents a positive return to the general fund for the State of Arizona.

In addition, the $93 million annually in direct economic impact from TGen operations represents a return on investment of $46.50 for every $1 invested by the state.

Report’s conclusion: Arizona should continue to support TGen

TGen has developed a national, and international, reputation for its pioneering work and is emulated broadly across the personalized medicine field.

Because of TGen, Arizona is recognized as a desirable location for biomedical investment. Multiple companies have formed as a result of the commercialization of research performed at TGen, generating additional economic and employment impacts for the state.

To continue these positive returns, the report concludes that it would benefit the State of Arizona to continue support of TGen, as the institute leads the translational research industry and the application of genomics to patient care.

“It is a testament to the value and resilience of TGen that its economic and employment impacts have grown, even in an increasingly competitive environment,” said Todd Sanders, President and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, which awarded TGen with its 2014 Economic Driver IMPACT Award. “As a home-grown enterprise, TGen is a vital catalyst for Arizona’s continuing transformation as a national center for biomedical innovations, and deserves continued support by the state.”

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