Study validates TGen developed test for healthcare-acquired infections

Molecular-based KlebSeq assay could save lives and lower healthcare costs

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Sept. 2, 2016 — A new study by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) details the design and validation of a low-cost, rapid and highly accurate screening tool — known as KlebSeq  — for potentially deadly healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs), such as Klebsiella pneumoniae. HAIs affect hundreds of thousands of patients annually and add nearly $10 billion in associated healthcare costs.

The findings, to be published in the October issue of the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, detail the workings of the KlebSeq test at detecting HAIs earlier, in particular Klebsiella, which has multiple strains, such as ST258, which are increasingly resistant to treatment by antibiotics.

Unlike traditional assays that require growing a live culture in a laboratory setting, which adds days to the testing process and layers on cost, KlebSeq employs a technique called amplicon sequencing that identifies the presence of Klebsiella and stratifies its characteristics, such as strain type and whether it may be antibiotic resistant.

“KlebSeq is able to accurately and consistently identify and characterize Klebsiella from many different types of specimen samples, including blood, urine, nasal swabs, and respiratory fluids,” said Dr. Jolene Bowers, a Post-Doctoral fellow in TGen’s Pathogen Genomics Division, TGen North, and the paper’s first author.

In 2015, Bowers co-led a study published in PLOS One, in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which documented the rapid global spread of ST258.

According to the CDC, nearly 2 million Americans annually contract bacterial infections that are resistant to at least one antibiotic, and 23,000 die each year from such infections, nearly twice as many who die of AIDS.

“Improved testing technology holds great potential for the rapid detection of HAIs and more quickly identifying antibiotic-resistant infections, such as K. pneumoniae, which have become an urgent public health crisis,” said Bowers. “KlebSeq is a perfect example of the power of genomic-based analytical tools that deliver results faster, more accurately and at a lower cost.”

According to Dr. David Engelthaler, Director of Programs and Operations for TGen North, and one of the authors of the study, transmission of multidrug-resistant strains of K. pneumoniae is rapid and without initial symptoms, leading to outbreaks in the healthcare system and the community that often go undetected.

“Early detection of K. pneumoniae in healthcare patients, especially those with multidrug-resistant strains, is critical to infection control,” said Dr. Engelthaler, who also is a former epidemiologist for the state of Arizona. “Perhaps most concerning is that Kleb acts like a shuttle for critical resistance genes, often transmitting them to other HAI species. It is important for us to detect both the bacteria and these critical genes.”

KlebSeq can be used for routine screening and surveillance, enabling healthcare staff to make more informed patient decisions, and curb outbreak situations by rapidly identifying transmissions prior patients showing signs of infection. Classifying the type of infection in each patient would help enable an institution to decide when and which intervention procedures to enact.

Study results suggest that KlebSeq would be especially helpful for high-risk patients — those in intensive-care units, centers specializing in bone marrow transplantation or chronically immunosuppressed patients, long-term care facilities, and travelers returning from endemic regions.

“The sensitivity of KlebSeq is superior to culture-based methods,” said Dr. Paul Keim, Director of TGen North and the senior author of the study.

“KlebSeq is an important step toward a comprehensive, yet accessible, tool for all pathogen identification and characterization,” said Dr. Keim, who also is the Cowden Endowed Chair of Microbiology at Northern Arizona University, and Director of NAU’s Center for Microbial Genetics and Genomics (MGGen).

The results also suggest that KlebSeq could be easily modified to detect other healthcare-acquired infectious agents, and identify those with antimicrobial resistance. It could also be used for outbreak detection, transmission mapping and tracing the source of infections by being able to screen hundreds of patient samples simultaneously, at a cost of tens of dollars per patient.

KlebSeq: A Diagnostic Tool for Surveillance, Detection, and Monitoring of Klebsiella pneumoniae, will be published in the October 2016 issue of the Journal of Clinical Microbiology.

Nov. 6 stepNout 5K aims for another $1 million for TGen cancer research

11th annual stepNout Run/Walk/Dash seeks end to pancreatic cancer, soon the nation’s 3rd leading cause of cancer death

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Aug. 25, 2016 — This year, pancreatic cancer is projected to eclipse breast cancer as the third leading cause of cancer-related death in the U.S.

The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is determined to reverse this trend in pancreatic cancer by enlisting the help of more than 1,000 participants at the 11th annual stepNout Run/Walk/Dash for pancreatic cancer research, Nov. 6 in Scottsdale.

“We are incredibly grateful to the hundreds of volunteers who have truly accelerated the development of new treatments for pancreatic cancer,” said Michael Bassoff, President of the TGen Foundation. “These generous runners and community leaders have brought hope and answers to pancreatic cancer patients around the world.”

Be sure to put on your running shoes for stepNout, a family-friendly morning of races, music, games, and activities — including a photo booth and face painting — all celebrating TGen’s efforts to stomp out pancreatic cancer.

Dr. Daniel Von Hoff, TGen Distinguished Professor and Physician-In-Chief, said more effective treatments for pancreatic cancer are needed. Pancreatic cancer this year will take the lives of nearly 42,000 Americans, a more than 10 percent increase in the past 5 years.

“The death rate for other leading cancers have been flat in recent years because of more effective treatments,” said Dr. Von Hoff. “We are making progress in treating patients with improvement in average survival and for the first time having some very long term survivors. We need continued, dedicated funding to improve on these promising results to our studies and benefit pancreatic patients who need our help now.”

Median survival for patients with advanced disease was less than 6 months, and the 5-year survival rate was less than 10 percent. But thanks to fundraising efforts like stepNout, these statistics are improving.

Under Dr. Von Hoff’s leadership, and in collaboration with HonorHealth, TGen pioneered a major international clinical trial that led the FDA in 2013 approved the use of Abraxane in combination with gemcitabine, which now is the nation’s standard of care for this disease. Two ongoing TGen-led studies are showing even greater promise, with tumor reductions of at least 30 percent in 3 in 4 patients, and the elimination of tumors in 1 in 5 patients.

Competitive and fun races at stepNout are geared for all ages and abilities, including the event’s signature 5K run. Online registration ends Nov. 1, though participants can register at the event. This is the third year stepNout will be at the Scottsdale Sports Complex, northeast of Bell and Hayden roads.

The annual event has raised more than $1 million since it started in 2006. Nearly $135,000 was raised last year, and organizers are aiming for $150,000 this year on their way towards an overall goal of $2 million.

And you don’t have to be at stepNout to help. You can donate at www.tgenfoundation.org/step.

*

If you go to stepNout:

What: TGen’s 11th annual stepNout Run/Walk/Dash for pancreatic cancer research.
Where: Scottsdale Sports Complex, 8081 E. Princess Drive, northeast of Hayden and Bell roads, between Loop 101 and Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard.
When: 7:30-11 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 6.  Registration starts at 7:30 a.m.; a competitive 5K run begins at 9 a.m.; a fun 1-mile run/walk starts at 9:15 a.m.; a free 50-yard kids’ dash is planned for 10:30 a.m.
Cost: Registration fees range from $10 to $30, depending on age. Costs increase by $5 after Oct. 21. Children ages 5 and under are free.
Parking: Free.
More information and registration: www.tgenfoundation.org/step and click on events. Contact Andrea Daly at (602) 343-8572 or by email at adaly@tgen.org.

‘Cycle for the Cure’ Raises a Record $248,725 for Cancer Research at TGen

Philanthropists Sherry and Richard Holson are instrumental in securing $100,000 in donations from Guarantee Trust Life

PHOENIX, Ariz. —  This year’s Cycle for the Cure already was on track to be one of the most successful in its six years of raising cancer research funds for the non-profit Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).

But thanks to additional donations generated by Guarantee Trust Life of Glenview, Ill., the 6th annual Cycle for the Cure garnered a record $248,725 for TGen.

The May 1 event, which featured hundreds of dedicated donors spinning on stationary cycles for up to 2 hours at several health clubs in Phoenix and Scottsdale, produced $173,725.

But Vicki Vaughn, Co-Chair of Cycle for the Cure, wasn’t finished.

After introducing her friends — Richard S. Holson III, Chairman, CEO and President of Guarantee Trust Life, and his wife, Sherry — to TGen, the Holson’s company invited TGen cancer researcher Dr. Will Hendricks and TGen Foundation Vice President Erin Massey to present at Guarantee Trust Life’s recent company conference in Arizona. The company was impressed and donated $25,000, part of the initial tally for Cycle for the Cure.

Then, after company officials toured TGen laboratories, they challenged their partners and representatives to donate to Cycle for the Cure. They raised a combined $37,500, which Guarantee Trust Life matched, dollar-for-dollar, adding another $75,000 to the $25,000 the company already donated, bringing the total generated by Guarantee Trust Life to $100,000.

“TGen should be very grateful to my wife, Sherry, and Vicki Vaughn as they were responsible for introducing my company to this amazing organization. We were impressed with, and inspired by, the remarkable people at TGen and the world-class, life-changing research being conducted,” said Richard Holson. “And the response by our agents with their contributions was great.”

Using genomic sequencing, TGen helps doctors match the appropriate therapy to each patient’s DNA profile, producing the greatest patient benefit. This year, Cycle for the Cure raised research funds for work on a revolutionary diagnostic method called “liquid biopsies” — biomarkers in circulating blood — as a means of providing patients and their doctors with early detection of disease.

“We believe everyone should know first-hand about the groundbreaking research going on at TGen, and we encourage everyone to join us in supporting the vital work TGen does,” said Vicki Vaughn, who co-chaired Cycle for the Cure with Robyn DeBell.

Village Health Clubs and Studio 360 provided the venues for this year’s Cycle for the Cure. In addition, yoga and kinesis classes were included in the fundraising events by Village Health Clubs at its DC Ranch and Camelback locations.

“We are incredibly proud to have merited the dedicated support of volunteer co-chairs Vicki Vaughn and Robyn DeBell,” said TGen Foundation President Michael Bassoff. “Their extraordinary leadership, and the generosity of business leaders like Rick Holman and the Guarantee Trust Life company, provides an incredible boost to TGen’s cancer research initiatives.”

Donations continue to be accepted at www.tgenfoundation.org/cycle. And save the date for next year’s 7th annual Cycle for the Cure: April 30, 2017.

World-renowned Sarod Maestro Plays Benefit Concert for TGen

Amjad Ali Khan’s fundraiser Sept. 3 at the Tempe Center for the Arts will help hundreds of Arizona children with rare medical disorders

TEMPE, Ariz. Sarod virtuoso Amjad Ali Khan — who has graced the most celebrated stages of the globe and shared musical billings with artists as varied as Queen Latifah and Steven Tyler — will perform a benefit concert for the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).

Khan and other Indian classical musicians will perform at 7 p.m. Sept. 3 at the Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway, to benefit TGen’s Center for Rare Childhood Disorders (C4RCD).

“Sarod for C4RCD” will feature: a solo by Khan on his lute-like stringed instrument; a duet by his son, seventh-generation sarod master Ayaan Ali Bangash, and Grammy-nominated violinist Elmira Darvarova; and a third set with all three musicians plus tabla (Indian two-piece drum) extraordinaire Anubrata Chatterjee.

“It is indeed a matter of great joy and honor for me to present my music for the music lovers of Phoenix,” said Khan. “I am so humbled to be associated with the Center for Rare Childhood Disorders at TGen.”

He was invited to perform in Phoenix at the benefit concert by Indian-born Dr. Vinodh Narayanan, Medical Director of TGen’s C4RCD, which since 2012 has harnessed the latest in genomic sequencing technology to pinpoint the genetic causes of rare medical disorders.

“This music from my beloved India reaches in and touches the soul; it is something anyone can appreciate and enjoy,” said Dr. Narayanan. “The fact that it will be performed by the world’s top artists makes this fundraising event something not to be missed. It is indeed a chance of a lifetime for all of us in Arizona. It’s an event that will benefit hundreds of children struggling to survive rare and difficult-to-treat medical conditions.”

Khan has performed at: the WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance) Festival in Adelaide, Australia, and New Plymouth, New Zealand; Edinburgh International (Music) Festival in Scotland; World Beat Festival in Brisbane, Australia, and Taranaki, New Zealand; The BBC Proms in London; Shiraz Arts Festival in Iran; Hong Kong Arts Festival; Adelaide Music Festival; 1200 Years celebration of Frankfurt; WOMAD Festival in Rivermead, England; and the Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna.

He has been a regular performer at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Victoria Hall in Geneva, Chicago Symphony Center, Mozart Hall in Frankfurt, and the Sydney Opera House in Australia.

In 2014, Amjad Ali Khan and his sons, Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash, performed at the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo, Norway, as well as the Nobel Peace Prize Concert along with a lineup that included Queen Latifah, Steven Tyler, Nuno Bettencourt and Laura Mvula.

In January, Khan performed for His Holiness The Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday celebration in New Delhi.

Tickets for the Sept. 3 concert are $200, $150 and $100 with all proceeds benefiting TGen’s Center for Rare Childhood Disorders. Tickets may be purchased at the Tempe Center for the Arts box office, by telephone at 480-350-2TCA (2822) or online at http://tca.ticketforce.com/SARODforC4RCD.

Food and beverages will be available for purchase.

For more information about these artists, please visit: www.sarod.com.

MRSA Detection Technology Developed by TGen-NAU is Granted First Patent

Test for ‘superbug’ bacterial infections created by DxNA under license from TGen-NAU

PHOENIX, Ariz. — Antibiotic-resistant infections should be easier to detect, and hospitals could become safer, thanks to a technology developed by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and Northern Arizona University (NAU), and protected under a patent issued by Australia.

Soon, similar patent approvals are expected by the U.S., Canada, European Union, Japan, Brazil and other nations for this “superbug” test developed by TGen and NAU, and licensed to DxNA LLC, a company based in St. George, Utah.

“This rapid, 1-hour test will precisely identify a family of antibiotic-resistant Staphinfections we broadly refer to as MRSA,” said Dr. Paul Keim, Director of TGen’s Pathogen Genomics Division, or TGen North, based in Flagstaff.

“We hope this technology will be adopted worldwide by hospitals and clinics, and will help identify and isolate these dangerous and difficult-to-eliminate infections that have come to plague our medical institutions,” said Dr. Keim, who also is the Cowden Endowed Chair of Microbiology at NAU, and Director of NAU’s Center for Microbial Genetics and Genomics (MGGen). “The result should be more rapid diagnosis, improved treatment of patients, and reduced medical costs.”

MRSA — Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus — is an antibiotic-resistant form of the Staph bacteria that annually kills more Americans than HIV.

While MRSA technically refers to one particular strain of Staph, the genomics-based test developed by TGen, NAU and DxNA can precisely detect multiple types of drug-resistant Staph bacterial infections, including drug resistant Coagulase Negative Staphylococcus (CSN), a much more common infection than MRSA.

Staph infections are the most common hospital-acquired or associated infections. While most of the focus over the past few years has been on MRSA, in terms of incidence and total cost, strains of Staph other than MRSA are a much more common problem.

Due to the increasing use of implantable biomaterials and medical devices, infections are increasingly caused by CNS. This is a type of Staph that is often resistant to multiple antibiotics and has a particular affinity for these devices.

“Rapid identification and differentiation of these resistant bacteria is key to optimizing treatment decisions that significantly impact patient outcomes and cost of care,” said David Taus, CEO of DxNA LLC. “Given that resistant CNS is a frequent pathogen in surgical site infections, orthopedic and cardiac device infections, and blood stream infections — among others — it is critical that we be able to rapidly identify and determine antibiotic resistance to provide for appropriate pre-surgical antibiotic prophylaxis to prevent infections and early and effective treatment when these infections do occur.”

Current molecular tests for MRSA all ignore CNS, rendering their results significantly less useful in treating patients given that drug resistant CNS infections are many times more common than MRSA.

DxNA’s Staphylococcus Test identifies and differentiates resistant and non-resistant strains of Staph and CNS. The test uses three separate proprietary biomarker targets and a proprietary methodology to determine which types of Staph are present, and which carry the gene that causes antibiotic-resistance in these bacteria.

“The test also is effective in identifying infected specimens where there are multiple types of Staph. The test will rapidly provide broader clinically-actionable results, improving antibiotic prophylaxis, early targeted intervention resulting in more effective treatment at lower costs,” Taus said.

Macy’s ‘Shop For A Cause’ Aug. 26-28 Supports Cancer Research at TGen

All proceeds from ‘Shop For A Cause’ shopping passes benefit TGen pancreatic cancer patients; shoppers receive substantial discounts

PHOENIX, Ariz. — Here is one more reason to do your back-to-school shopping at Macy’s:  “Shop For A Cause” shopping passes will provide needed research dollars for the non-profit Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), benefitting pancreatic cancer patients.

This 11th annual “Shop For A Cause” at Macy’s is no longer a one-day event. This year, “Shop For A Cause” passes will be honored at Macy’s throughout the weekend of Aug. 26-28.

Now through Aug. 25, “Shop For A Cause” passes may be purchased for only $5 by visiting helptgen.org/macys or by calling 602-343-8411. Shopping passes will provide up to 25 percent off most merchandise, and provide an opportunity to win a $500 Macy’s gift card.

“More than ever, Macy’s is finding ways to help charity and non-profit organizations, such as TGen, to help those in need,” said Dr. Haiyong Han, Associate Professor of TGen’s Clinical Translational Research Division. “ ‘Shop For A Cause’ will benefit pancreatic cancer patients who desperately need our help today.”

This year, pancreatic cancer will surpass breast cancer as America’s third-leading cause of cancer-related death, with more than 53,000 newly diagnosed patients, and nearly 42,000 deaths. More than 75 percent of pancreatic cancer patients die within the first year of diagnosis, and fewer than 10 percent survive for more than 5 years.

The pancreas is a banana-shaped organ behind the stomach that produces digestive enzymes, as well as hormones such as insulin to help regulate blood sugar. Because there is no screening test, and usually no symptoms in its early stages, pancreatic cancer usually is not diagnosed until its advanced stages, when surgery often is no longer an option and treatment is more difficult.

TGen’s focus is on early detection, and groundbreaking clinical trials, which recently have shown tumor reductions of 30 percent or more in nearly 8 out of 10 advanced pancreatic cancer patients. TGen’s progress could not come at a more critical time. During the past 5 years, as the U.S. population continues to grow, the number of deaths attributed to other leading cause of cancer death — lung, colon and breast cancers — have remained steady, while the number of deaths due to pancreatic cancer have increased by nearly 11 percent.

All dollars — 100 percent — raised in the Phoenix area by “Shop For A Cause” will go toward TGen’s annual stepNout run/walk/dash program, which funds pancreatic cancer research. This year’s stepNout event is scheduled for Nov. 6 at the Scottsdale Sports Complex.

Macy’s “Shop For A Cause” is a unique shopping event dedicated to supporting local nonprofit organizations’ fundraising efforts. Since 2006, the program has helped raise tens of millions of dollars for charities throughout the nation, and more than 5,000 charities signed up to participate last year.

“At Macy’s, we believe in supporting the communities where our customers and associates live and work. That is why we are so proud of ‘Shop For A Cause,’ ” said Holly Thomas, Macy’s group vice president of cause marketing. “With this year’s extension to a weekend-long event, we’re offering even more opportunity to support local and national causes, and thanking our customers with special savings at Macy’s.”

To find a Macy’s near you, go to mcys.co/1D3ZrXl. For more information about Macy’s “Shop For A Cause,” visit macys.com/shopforacause.

New Test Developed at TGen Uses the Unique Genetics of Women to Uncover a devastating Neurologic Disorder

Study published today by investigators with TGen’s Dorrance Center for Rare Childhood Disorders

Using a basic genetic difference between men and women, the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) has uncovered a way to track down the source of a neurological disorder in a young girl.

TGen’s discovery relies on a simple genetic fact: Men have one X and one Y chromosome, while women have two X chromosomes. This women-only factor was leveraged by TGen investigators to develop a highly accurate method of tracking down a previously unrecognized disorder of the X-chromosome.

The study of a pre-teen girl, who went years with an undiagnosed neurobehavioral condition, was published today in the scientific journal PLOS ONE.

TGen’s findings were made within its Dorrance Center for Rare Childhood Disorders, where investigators and clinicians apply the latest tools of genomic medicine to provide answers for parents seeking to identify the disease or disorder affecting their child.

The scientists sequenced, or spelled out in order, the complete genetic codes of DNA and RNA of the girl. Because girls inherit an X chromosome from each of their parents (boys inherit a Y chromosome from their father), they also sequenced her mother and father. On average, about half of all X chromosomes active in a female come from the mother and the other half from the father.

“We now have the tools to significantly accelerate the diagnostic process, reducing the need for children to undergo multiple tests that can be emotionally and physically taxing for the entire family,” said Dr. David Craig, TGen’s Deputy Director of Bioinformatics, Co-Director of the Dorrance Center and the paper’s senior author.

Sequencing would reveal the proportion of X chromosomes, and if disproportionate, whether the more abundant of the two were damaged in some way, which often leads to X-linked genetic conditions.

“At the time of enrollment, we suspected the girl had a complex neurobehavioral condition, based on her attention deficit, and delays in development and learning,” said Dr. Vinodh Narayanan, Medical Director of the Dorrance Center. “Her brain MRI scans were normal. We needed to find out more — at the genetic level — about what might be causing her disorder.”

By sequencing the DNA and RNA, TGen investigators were able to precisely identify which cells contained active X chromosomes from the girl’s mother, which contained active X chromosomes from the father, in what proportions, and whether they were associated with any known disorders.

They discovered that the X chromosome from the father contained a segment shown to be associated with neurobehavioral conditions. Interestingly, however, the proportion of X chromosomes active in the girl’s cells skewed toward the normal X inherited from her mother. This skewing may have led to a milder, harder to diagnose condition undetected by conventional methods.

“This study shows the power sequencing holds when scanning for potential disease causing and disease-modifying genetic variations,” said Dr. Matt Huentelman, the other Co-Director of the Dorrance Center and an author of the PLOS ONE paper. “I’m most excited to see the pace at which TGen has pushed the genome sequencing technology to where it can help patients — today.”

TGen Research Associate Szabolcs Szelinger, the paper’s lead author, said: “With just a small bio sample, we are now able to provide a comprehensive evaluation of the effects that genetic variation has on patients, leading to highly personalized treatment options, while at the same time providing researchers with insights into the underlying molecular processes.”

Since opening in October 2013, TGen’s Dorrance Center for Rare Childhood Disorders Dorrance Center has enrolled nearly 300 families. And with the rapid decrease in sequencing costs and improved analytical methods, comprehensive, integrative sequencing approaches will likely be used more in the future. Information on the Dorrance Center is available at www.c4rcd.org.

Funding for the study came from the State of Arizona, the Stardust Foundation, and donations to the TGen Foundation.

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.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton Proclaims Nov. 26 as TGen ‘Get Your Jersey On’ Day

ASU-UA rivalry football game is focus of fundraising for groundbreaking TGen-led concussion study

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton today proclaimed Wednesday, Nov. 26, as TGen “Get Your Jersey On” Day in support of a groundbreaking sports concussion study led by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).

In anticipation of Arizona’s biggest rivalry football game of the year, TGen invites businesses, schools and other organizations throughout the state to join TGen’s “Get Your Jersey On” campaign, and allow their employees to wear their favorite sports jersey or t-shirt to work or school on Wednesday, Nov. 26 — the day before Thanksgiving.

The day was selected in anticipation of the 88th Duel in the Desert, pitting the Arizona State University Sun Devils against the University of Arizona Wildcats onNov. 28 in Tucson, which could decide which team (both with records of 9-2) goes to the PAC-12 Championship.

Among those already participating Nov. 26 in Get Your Jersey On day are the Phoenix and Tucson offices of CBRE, a nationwide commercial real estate firm, and HealthSouth Scottsdale Rehabilitation Hospital.

TGen encourages participants to make small donations of $10 towards TGen’s groundbreaking concussion research, which consists of ASU student-athletes voluntarily wearing sensors in their helmets to measure the number, location, duration, direction and force of impacts during practices and games.

These measurements, combined with biological tests, could result in the discovery of a biomarker — a measurable change in the athlete’s genetic makeup — that would objectively indicate when a player is too hurt to take the field, or when they are fit enough to re-enter the game.

TGen’s multi-year study is in conjunction with Riddell — the industry leader in football helmet technology and innovation — Barrow Neurological Institute and A.T. Still University. The study could help protect the health of student athletes by replacing subjective examinations players currently undergo on the sidelines after a serious hit with a definitive genomics-based test.

Hundreds of Chandler’s Kyrene de las Brisas Elementary School students and teachers and Arizona employees of Bank of America Merrill Lynch already have participated in Get Your Jersey On events earlier this fall. Additional Get Your Jersey On events are anticipated surrounding the inaugural NCAA college football playoffs in late December and early January, as well as the Jan. 25 NFL Pro Bowl and Feb. 1Super Bowl, both being played at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.

Mayor Stanton’s proclamation reads, in part:

“The schools (ASU and UA) have amassed a significant presence in downtown Phoenix, providing new educational opportunities and driving creativity, culture, business development and jobs. TGen is encouraging all alumni to wear their maroon and gold or red and blue in support of the research — and the fun nature of the rivalry.

“Participating organizations are not only showing team spirit — they’re also contributing to TGen’s concussion research with small donations.

“NOW, THEREFORE, I, GREG STANTON, Mayor of the City of Phoenix, Arizona, do hereby proclaim November 26, 2014, as TGEN “GET YOUR JERSEY ON” DAY and ask each resident on this twenty-sixth day of November, in the year two thousand fourteen to wear their favorite sports jerseys to help raise awareness and funds for TGen’s ongoing concussion research.”

Dean Ballard, TGen Foundation Assistant Director of Development, said: “TGen is thrilled that Mayor Stanton has issued this proclamation. He is helping us shine a bright light on this important research. We welcome additional businesses and organizations across Arizona to Get Their Jersey On in support of this study, which will help protect athletes in any sport now, and in the future.”

If you would like your organization to participate in Get Your Jersey On, contact Ballard at dballard@tgen.org, or 602-343-8543.

ASU and UA annually vie for the coveted Territorial Cup, the nation’s oldest rivalry trophy in college football. It dates to 1899 — 13 years before Arizona became a state — when Arizona’s two largest institutions of higher learning first met on the gridiron. The Wildcats lead the series 47-39, with one tie.

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.

 

ASU-UA Rivalry Football Game is Focus of Fundraising for Groundbreaking TGen-Led Concussion Study

‘Get Your Jersey On’ encourages businesses and organizations to wear their favorite sports jersey to work or school, supporting TGen’s investigations

In anticipation of Arizona’s biggest rivalry football game of the year, the Translational Genomics Research Institute invites businesses, schools and other organizations throughout the state to join TGen’s “Get Your Jersey On” campaign for concussion research.

TGen encourages organizations to allow their employees to wear their favorite sports jersey or t-shirt to work or school on Nov. 26 — the day before Thanksgiving — in anticipation of the 88th Duel in the Desert, pitting the Arizona State University Sun Devils against the University of Arizona Wildcats on Nov. 28 in Tucson.

TGen encourages participants to make small donations of $10 towards TGen’s groundbreaking concussion research, which consists of ASU student-athletes voluntarily wearing sensors in their helmets to measure the number, location, duration, direction and force of impacts during practices and games.

These measurements, combined with biological tests, could result in the discovery of a biomarker — a measurable change in the athlete’s genetic makeup — that would objectively indicate when a player is too hurt to take the field, or when they are fit enough to re-enter the game.

TGen’s multi-year study is in conjunction with Riddell — the industry leader in football helmet technology and innovation — Barrow Neurological Institute and A.T. Still University. The study could help protect the health of student athletes by replacing subjective examinations players currently undergo on the sidelines after a serious hit with a definitive genomics-based test.

Hundreds of Chandler’s Kyrene de las Brisas Elementary School students and teachers and Arizona employees of Bank of America Merrill Lynch already have participated in Get Your Jersey On events earlier this fall. Other Get Your Jersey On events are anticipated surrounding the inaugural NCAA college football playoffs in late December and early January, as well as the Jan. 25 NFL Pro Bowl and Feb. 1Super Bowl, both being played at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.

“It is our hope that the enthusiasm sports fans have for the ASU-UA rivalry game will translate into support for this vitally important TGen-led study of concussions,” said Dean Ballard, TGen Foundation Assistant Director of Development. “We welcome additional businesses and organizations to Get Their Jersey On and turn their love of sports into a way to help protect the athletes they admire.”

If you would like your organization to participate in Get Your Jersey On, contact Ballard at dballard@tgen.org, or 602-343-8543.

ASU (8-2) and UA (8-2) annually vie for the coveted Territorial Cup, the nation’s oldest rivalry trophy in college football. It dates to 1899 — 13 years before Arizona became a state — when Arizona’s two largest institutions of higher learning first met on the gridiron. The Wildcats lead the series 47-39, with one tie.

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.

 

TGen’s Dr. John Carpten Honored with AACR Distinguished Lectureship on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities

NIH director praises choice of Dr. Carpten to give award lecture on medically underserved and underrepresented at AACR conference Nov. 9

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), the world’s largest cancer research organization representing more than 35,000 investigators, congratulates Dr. John D. Carpten on receiving the 2014 AACR Distinguished Lectureship on the Science of Health Disparities, funded by Susan G. Komen.

He will be honored at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) conference on The Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved, held Nov. 9-12 in San Antonio.

Dr. Francis S. Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), praised the selection of Dr. Carpten: “As NIH Director, this is a double delight — seeing health disparities research get the recognition it deserves, and seeing John Carpten, who I had the privilege of co-mentoring at NIH almost two decades ago, receiving this award. Bravo to John and the AACR.”

Dr. Carpten, Deputy Director of Basic Sciences at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in Phoenix, is being recognized for his outstanding research focused on understanding the role of biology in the disparate cancer incidence and mortality rates seen among minority populations.

He will deliver his award lecture, “Genetics and Genome Sciences in Cancer Health Disparities,” during the opening plenary session, 7:15 p.m. CST Nov. 9 in Texas Ballroom D-E of the Grand Hyatt San Antonio.

The 5th annual AACR Distinguished Lectureship on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities, funded by Susan G. Komen, recognizes an investigator whose novel and significant work has had or may have a far-reaching impact on the etiology, detection, diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of cancer health disparities.

“I’m humbled and honored by this recognition. However, I am actually accepting this on behalf of all of the amazing scientists, patients, and medical professionals that have contributed to any work that might be deemed mine,” Dr. Carpten said. “I’ve been blessed to work with some of the most outstanding scientists in the world and this award is as much theirs as it is mine. I hope to continue to pursue the purpose that’s been given me to help understand and ultimately improve health outcomes for all people, particularly the underrepresented.”

Dr. Carpten has made a number of seminal discoveries in cancer genetics and genomics. His work has applied high-throughput genomic technologies to discover important genomic alterations in cancer. In addition, he has a strong passion and commitment to understanding cancer etiology among minority populations, which is evident through his leadership role in the African-American Hereditary Prostate Cancer (AAHPC) Study Network. This network was conceived by Dr. Carpten and has become a model for genetic linkage studies in underrepresented populations and was the first to conduct a genomewide scan for prostate cancer susceptibility genes in African-Americans.

In addition, his work on multiple myeloma has led to a better biological understanding of the differences in incidence and outcomes seen among African-American patients with multiple myeloma. More recently, his group has discovered a number of single nucleotide polymorphisms, which confer increased risk of developing prostate cancer. He has recently led and co-authored a series of articles describing the roles of genetic variants in prostate cancer risk in Genome Research, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, and New England Journal of Medicine.

Dr. Carpten is an active member of the AACR. He is currently a senior editor of Cancer Research, and has previously served as a member of the Minorities in Cancer Research (MICR) Council Committee, chair of the 2010 MICR Scientific Symposium, member of the MICR-Jane Cooke Wright Lectureship Committee, member of the Research Grant Review Committee, and as a member of the editorial board of Clinical Cancer Research.

Prior to joining TGen, Dr. Carpten was an investigator with the cancer genetics branch of the National Institutes of Health’s National Human Genome Research Institute. He received his doctoral degree in molecular genetics from The Ohio State University in Columbus.

About the American Association for Cancer Research
Founded in 1907, the American Association for Cancer Research (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 residing in 97 countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise of the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, biology, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer by annually convening more than 20 conferences and educational workshops, the largest of which is the AACR Annual Meeting with over 18,000 attendees. In addition, the AACR publishes eight peer-reviewed scientific journals and a magazine for cancer survivors, patients, and their caregivers. The AACR funds meritorious research directly as well as in cooperation with numerous cancer organizations. As the Scientific Partner of Stand Up To Cancer, the AACR provides expert peer review, grants administration, and scientific oversight of team science and individual grants in cancer research that have the potential for near-term patient benefit. The AACR actively communicates with legislators and policymakers about the value of cancer research and related biomedical science in saving lives from cancer. For more information about the AACR, visit www.AACR.org. Follow us: Cancer Research Catalyst http://blog.aacr.org; Twitter @AACR; and Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/aacr.org

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.