Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation funds new ARCS Scholar

 

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The Ben & Catherine Ivy Foundation (Ivy Foundation) is providing a scholarship for John Heffernan, an Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) scholar. Heffernan is currently pursuing a Ph.D in bioengineering at Arizona State University and plans to focus on glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain cancer research.

The Ivy Foundation is the largest privately funded brain cancer research foundation in North America and has been dedicated to furthering brain cancer research since 2005.

“We are pleased to be able to help John further his studies in such a critical area,” said Catherine Ivy, founder and president of the Ivy Foundation. “With support from Ivy Foundation and ARCS, we hope John can take the steps necessary to grow in this crucial phase of his scientific career.”

The ARCS Foundation advances science and technology in the United States by providing financial awards to academically outstanding U. S. citizens studying to complete degrees in science, engineering and medical research. ARCS Scholars are selected annually by a number of qualifying departments within the ARCS Foundation’s 54 academic partner universities.

The ARCS Foundation Phoenix recently held their 41st Annual Scholar Awards Dinner at the Phoenix Country Club. The proceeds provide financial awards to outstanding graduate Ph.D. science students attending Arizona State University (ASU), Northern Arizona University (NAU) and University of Arizona (UA).

The Phoenix Chapter currently has 39 scholars and has awarded over $5,692,900 to 935 scholars at the three Arizona state universities since 1975.

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Ivy Foundation Expands Internship Program at TGen

Big News!

             We have expanded our Ivy Neurological Science Internship Program through the Translational Geonomics Research Institute (TGen). This opportunity is known as the premier neuro-related biomedical internship in the state as it offers hands-on biomedical research experience for high school, undergraduate and medical school students. TGen investigators mentor interns interested in the fields of brain tumor research, neuroscience and neurogenomics. They educate the interns about the translational process of moving laboratory discoveries into treatments for patients in clinical trials. “The Ivy Neurological Science Internship Program at TGen has the capacity to inspire a new generation of scientists with the skills needed to pursue the complexities of studying the human brain,” said our president, Catherine Ivy. “As advancements are made in this field, it is ever more important to help guide the next generation of talented individuals who can elevate the research to new levels of discovery – ultimately, the discovery of cures for cancers and neurological disease.”

            Beginning this summer, high-school students will participate in a ten-week program and undergraduates will be able to intern for a full academic year. Additionally, medical students, who are deferring a year of school for research training, will work full-time at TGen. Before now, undergraduates could only intern for one semester and medical students only worked part-time. Our contribution extends the mentoring time available to students in order for them to further develop their bioscience skills under the guidance of the world-class scientific investigators at TGen. “The changes to this year’s Ivy program greatly enhance our efforts to provide hands-on experience for students in the fundamentals of translational research,” said TGen President Dr. Jeffrey Trent. “Through Catherine’s vision and support we are developing a local, highly skilled workforce that will continue to push the boundaries of biomedical research.”

          In addition to brain tumor and neurological sciences laboratory research, Ivy interns gain experience through exposure to clinic life through training, seminars and clinical site tours. The clinical training module will engage them with the ultimate focus of TGen’s investigations — the patients. “Today’s students must be prepared for the rigors of some of the world’s most complex studies in the areas of brain tumor research and neurological sciences,” said Brandy Wells, Manager of TGen’s Education and Outreach program. “The Ivy program provides students with a great preview of what their careers in biomedical research will encompass.”

For more information, please contact Brandy Wells at bwells@tgen.org or 602-343-8655

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About The Ben & Catherine Ivy Foundation

The Ben & Catherine Ivy Foundation, based in Scottsdale, Ariz., was formed in 2005, when Ben Ivy lost his battle with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).  Since then, the Foundation has contributed more than $50 million to research in gliomas within the United States and Canada, with the goal of better diagnostics and treatments that offer long-term survival and a high quality of life for patients with brain tumors.  The Ben & Catherine Ivy Foundation is the largest privately funded foundation of its kind in the United States.  For more information, visit www.ivyfoundation.org.  Connect with The Ben & Catherine Ivy Foundation on Facebook at www.facebook.com/IvyFoundation and on Twitter @IvyFoundation.

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.

Who Was Ben Ivy?

Benjamin (Ben) Franklin Ivy III graduated with a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree from Cornell University and received his MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He was President of Ivy Financial Enterprises, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisory firm in Palo Alto, California. Ben was a Certified Financial Planner and a Registered Principal of Associated Securities Corp. who specialized in investment real estate. He was a pioneer in the concept of comprehensive financial and estate planning through a very successful series of lectures and workshops.

Ben possessed great intellect and had the ability to communicate his thoughts and ideas to his clients. He was listed annually in “Who’s Who in America” for over 20 years. In November of 2005, Ben lost his battle with brain cancer. He had survived only four months after diagnosis. Ben set a true example of living life to the fullest. He is missed and continues to set an example for those who were fortunate enough to have known him. The Ivy Foundation was created by Ben and his wife, Catherine, in order to support medical research.

Learn more about the Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation here.

Ivy Foundation Awards $3 Million Grant

Ivy Foundation awards $3 million grant, supporting brain cancer research in Arizona

December 18th, 2013
Dec. 18, 2013—The Ben & Catherine Ivy Foundation today announced a $3 million grant to the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), Nemucore Medical Innovations Inc., and Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center to help fund significant brain tumor research in Arizona. The collaboration of TGen, Nemucore and Barrow will pursue ways to optimize targeted therapies delivered by nanotechnology systems to treat glioblastoma, the most common and most aggressive form of malignant brain tumors.

This project is a primary example of translational research, moving laboratory findings as soon as practicable to patient care. Laboratory success should result in eventual follow-on efforts in the biomanufacturing of personalized medicine and implementation of new therapies in clinical trials.

“We are excited about this innovative approach to research, especially the collaboration between two major Arizona institutions: TGen and Barrow,” said Catherine Ivy, Founder and President of the Ivy Foundation. “Knowing there is a tangible way to develop therapies specific to the needs of patients will enhance the care and treatment of every brain tumor patient—and that is priceless.”

One of the goals of this Ivy Foundation grant is to enable TGen, Nemucore and Barrow to collaboratively align their findings toward the goal of creating new medications that can bridge the body’s blood-brain barrier, which in the past has hampered the successful implementation of intravenous brain-cancer drugs.

Each of the collaborators is a leader in their respective fields:

  • TGen’s genomic sequencing—in which all 3 billion base-pair letters of human DNA are spelled out, in order—can be used to create molecular profiles of patients and match specific therapies to diseases, providing the promise of better clinical results while minimizing side effects.
  • Nemucore specializes in the development of life-saving cancer nanomedicines, in which drugs are packaged in ways that evade cancer defenses, delivering medications that can knockout tumors.
  • Barrow, which is internationally known for its treatment of neurological disorders and treats one of the highest volumes of brain tumors in the United States, will conduct preclinical work to design nanomedicines for better access to the tumor, and will also provide the setting for clinical trials, in which patients are the first to benefit from new therapies.

“Working with the research team from the outset of the study will be helpful. We can advise them on methods or components as they develop novel formulations suitable for crossing the blood-brain barrier,” said Dr. Tim Coleman, CEO of Nemucore. “Without this type of integrated approach it would take much longer to translate these individualized investigational therapies to the clinic.”

Based on the research findings, the team would work with a strategic manufacturing partner, Blue Ocean Biomanufacturing, to develop methods to manufacture personalized medicine for the treatment of glioblastoma.

Coleman also is CEO of Blue Ocean, which is developing a cutting edge, fully flexible manufacturing facility in Peoria, Arizona. With a focus on small-batch pharmaceuticals and personalized medicine, Blue Ocean will advance breakthrough technologies for producing biopharmaceuticals with reasonable economics. This revolutionary technology will make it possible to use the genetics of a single patient’s tumor to customize and produce the medicine specific to them.

“Barrow’s collaboration with TGen and Nemucore is unique in that we will develop novel drug delivery technology that fully spans basic academic science through bench top translation and manufacturing,” says Dr. Rachael Sirianni, assistant professor at the Barrow Brain Tumor Research Center. “Our first and foremost goal is to improve the prospects for patients diagnosed with glioblastoma, and to translate our academic science into safe and effective therapies. This innovative partnership between our respective institutions and the funding provided by the Ivy Foundation will make it possible to bring forward academic research to benefit patients at Barrow and elsewhere.”

“This grant is a tremendous step in changing the way medicine is developed in Arizona,” said Dr. Michael Berens, TGen Deputy Director for Research Resources and Director of TGen’s Cancer and Cell Biology Division. “This project should enable us to develop treatments that will bridge the blood-brain barrier. I wholeheartedly thank the Ivy Foundation for their continuing support of the work we are doing to find new and effective treatments for the patients afflicted with this most aggressive form of cancer.”

Provided by The Translational Genomics Research Institute

The Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation Grants Nearly $1.2 Million for Mayo Clinic Brain Cancer Study

Mayo Clinic teams with Ivy Foundation to study brain tumor vaccines

The Ben & Catherine Ivy Foundation (Ivy Foundation) announced a gift of nearly $1.2 million to study brain tumor vaccines that combine a patient’s immune stimulators with tumor cultures from other patients.

The Ivy Foundation selected the study led by Allan B. Dietz, Ph.D., head of Mayo Clinic’s Human Cellular Therapy Laboratory, and Ian Parney, M.D. Ph.D., a neurosurgeon and immunobiologist, because of Dr. Dietz’s track record in brain cancer research, among other things.

“Mayo Clinic was selected as one of our brain cancer research partners because of the merit of the historical research done by Dr. Dietz and their ability to execute the project,” said Catherine Ivy, founder and president of the Ivy Foundation. “We believe this creative project will contribute important information to brain cancer research.”

The study will combine a patient’s optimized dendritic cells, known to be potent immune stimulators, with pooled and well-characterized cellular debris – known as lysates – from other patients’ brain tumor cultures to generate a tumor vaccine.

“We are combining this new approach with new methods for monitoring and tracking changes in the immune system,” said Dr. Dietz. “Together, we believe that this approach will allow us to identify and treat those patients most likely to benefit from this therapy.”
The Ivy Foundation has a research funding focus on glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most common and deadliest of malignant primary brain tumors in adults, and is the largest privately funded brain cancer research foundation in North America.

“We are extremely grateful for the Ivy Foundation’s support for our brain tumor vaccine clinical trial,” said Dr. Parney. “Their help has been crucial to bringing this promising new experimental treatment to patients diagnosed with glioblastoma. With their assistance, we hope to improve the outlook for patients with this highly aggressive brain cancer.”

http://www.ivyfoundation.org

About Ben Ivy

ben-catherine-ivy quote

Ben possessed great intellect and had the ability to communicate his thoughts and ideas to his clients. In November of 2005, Ben lost his battle with brain cancer. He had survived only four months after diagnosis. Ben set a true example of living life to the fullest. He is missed and continues to set an example for those who were fortunate enough to have known him. The Ivy Foundation was created by Ben and his wife, Catherine, in order to support medical research.

Read more about Ben Ivy and the Ivy Foundation.