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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Derrick Hall of the Arizona Diamondbacks is Honorary Chair of TGen’s 9th Annual StepNout Race Nov. 2

5K is expected to draw more than 1,000 participants to the Scottsdale Sports Complex, helping fund TGen’s pancreatic cancer research

Arizona Diamondbacks President and CEO Derrick Hall for the first time is the honorary chair of the 2014 stepNout Run Walk Dash, funding pancreatic cancer research at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).

The 9th annual stepNout has a new location: the Scottsdale Sports Complex, northeast of Bell and Hayden roads. More participants are expected this year than ever before.

More than 1,000 people are expected to participate Nov. 2 in stepNout, which features fun, competitive races for all ages and abilities, including the event’s signature 5K run. Participants may register at the event. More information is available at www.tgenfoundation.org/step.

“Unfortunately, I lost my father to pancreatic cancer about three years ago,” Hall said. “It’s a terrible disease, and it’s usually not detected until it is in an advanced stage. By that point, there are few options. TGen is working on a method of early detection for pancreatic cancer, which this year will take the lives of nearly 40,000 Americans, the nation’s fourth-leading cause of cancer-related death.”

Erin Massey, Vice President of Development for Cancer Programs at the TGen Foundation, said: “Having an event chair like Derrick, who has been personally impacted by this disease, and who also understands TGen’s mission, provides an immediate connection to patients, their families and the thousands of concerned members of our community.”

TGen’s pancreatic cancer research is led by Dr. Daniel D. Von Hoff, TGen’s Distinguished Professor and Physician-In-Chief, and Chief Scientific Officer for the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center Clinical Trials at Scottsdale Healthcare, a partnership with TGen. Dr. Von Hoff is one of the world’s leading authorities on pancreatic cancer.

“If anyone is going to make a difference in treating this disease, and perhaps one day finding a cure, it is Dr. Daniel Von Hoff,” said Hall, who also is a member of TGen’s National Advisory Council for Pancreatic Cancer Research.

Vowing to “fight pancreatic cancer, one step at a time,” stepNout aims to surpass the $1 million mark in fundraising. Participants have donated more than $750,000 since the event started in 2006 at Kiwanis Park in Tempe.

Mattress Firm, the nation’s leading bedding retailer, announced in August that it had agreed to be the presenting sponsor of stepNout.

If you go to stepNout
What: TGen’s 9th 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: 7-11 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 2.  Registration starts at 7 a.m.; races begin at 9 a.m.; an awards ceremony is set for 10 a.m.; and a kids’ dash is planned for 10:30 a.m.
Cost: Registration fees range from $15 to $35, depending on age and competition. Children ages 4 and under are free.
Registration: Register at the event.
Parking: Free.
More information: www.tgenfoundation.org/step.

About Mattress Firm
With more than 1,500 company-operated and franchised stores across 36 states, Mattress Firm (NASDAQ:MFRM) has the largest geographic footprint in the United States among multi-brand mattress retailers. Founded in 1986, Houston-based Mattress Firm is the nation’s leading bedding retailer with more than $1.2 billion in sales for 2013. The company offers a broad selection of both traditional and specialty mattresses, bedding accessories and other related products from leading manufacturers, including Sealy, Tempur-Pedic, Serta, Simmons, Stearns & Foster, Hampton & Rhodes and Atmos. Mattress Firm guarantees price, comfort and service with the ultimate goal of ensuring customers Save Money. Sleep Happy™. More information is available at mattressfirm.com.

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 Receives Approval for Patient Enrollment in Brain Cancer Clinical Trial

Catherine Ivy and Dr. David Craig

 

Glioblastoma (GBM) Pilot Trial funded by Ivy Foundation

In 2012, The Ben & Catherine Ivy Foundation awarded $10 million in grants for two groundbreaking brain cancer research projects at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen). One of those projects has officially received the final regulatory approval from University of California, San Francisco, which means patient enrollment for the trial can begin.

 

In the $5-million-project, “Genomics Enabled Medicine in Glioblastoma Trial,” TGen and its clinical partners will lead first-in-patient clinical trial studies that will test promising new drugs that might extend the survival of GBM patients. This multi-part study will take place in clinics across the country and TGen laboratories.

 

“GBM is one of the top three fastest-killing cancers out there and it affects people of all ages,” said Catherine (Bracken) Ivy, founder and president of The Ben & Catherine Ivy Foundation. “It is critical that we fund research that will help patients live longer so we can study and treat brain cancer.”

 

The project begins with a pilot study of 15 patients, using whole genome sequencing to study their tumor samples to help physicians determine what drugs might be most beneficial.

 

To support molecularly informed clinical decisions, TGen labs also will examine genomic data from at least 536 past cases of glioblastoma, as well as tumor samples from new cases, developing tools that will produce more insight into how glioblastoma tumors grow and survive. TGen also will conduct a series of pioneering lab tests to measure cell-by-cell responses to various drugs.

 

“GBM is a disease that needs answers now, and we strongly believe those answers will be found in the genome,” said Dr. David Craig, TGen’s Deputy Director of Bioinformatics, Director of TGen’s Neurogenomics Division, and one of the projects principal investigators. “Identifying the genes that contribute to the survival of glioblastoma will provide valuable information on how to treat it, and may also lead to an improved understanding of what drives other cancers as well.”

 

To get new treatments to patients as quickly as possible, this five-year study will include a feasibility study involving up to 30 patients, followed by Phase II clinical trials with as many as 70 patients. TGen is teaming with the Ivy Early Phase Clinical Trials Consortium that includes: University of California, San Francisco; University of California, Los Angeles; the MD Anderson Cancer Center; Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; University of Utah; and the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center.

 

The results of these clinical trials should not only help the patients who join them, but also provide the data needed for FDA approval and availability of new drugs that could benefit tens of thousands of brain cancer patients in the future.

 

“Working with physicians, the project will aim to understand treatment in the context of the tumor’s molecular profile. We will have the opportunity to determine when combinations of drugs might be more effective than using a single drug, quickly identify which therapies don’t work, and accelerate discovery of ones that might prove promising for future development,” said Dr. John Carpten, TGen’s Deputy Director of Basic Science, Director of TGen’s Integrated Cancer Genomics Division, and another of the project’s principal investigators.

 

In addition to helping patients as quickly as possible, the project should significantly expand Arizona’s network of brain cancer experts.

 

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 http://www.ivyfoundation.org. We have regular updates via social media – please find us on:

Blog:  Ivy Foundation http://www.IvyFoundation.wordpress.com

Facebook:  Ivy Foundation  http://www.facebook.com/IvyFoundation

Twitter:  @IvyFoundation https://twitter.com/IvyFoundation

Google+:   Ivy Foundation https://plus.google.com/105982076267406579679/posts

LinkedIn:  Ivy Foundation http://linkedin.com/company/the-ben-and-catherine-ivy-foundation

YouTube:  IvyFoundationGBM http://www.youtube.com/user/IvyFoundationGBM

 

About TGen

The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a Phoenix-based non-profit organization dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research with life changing results. Research at TGen is focused on helping patients with diseases such as cancer, neurological disorders and diabetes. TGen is on the cutting edge of translational research where investigators are able to unravel the genetic components of common and complex diseases. Working with collaborators in the scientific and medical communities, TGen believes it can make a substantial contribution to the efficiency and effectiveness of the translational process. For more information, visit: www.tgen.org.

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

catherine-ivy-with-tgen-scientists-final

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.

Learn About Brain Cancer

Brain Cancer

A disease of the brain in which cancer cells (malignant) arise in the brain tissue. Cancer cells grow to form a mass of cancer tissue (tumor) that interferes with brain functions such as muscle control, sensation, memory, and other normal body functions.

Brain Tumor

An abnormal growth of tissue in the brain.  Unlike other tumors, brain tumors spread by local extension and rarely metastasize (spread) outside the brain.

Clinical Trials

Research studies done to determine whether new drugs, treatments, or vaccines are safe and effective.  They are conducted in three phases:

  • Phase I
    In this phase, small groups of people are treated with a certain dose of a new agent that has been extensively studied in the laboratory. During the trial, the dose is increased group by group to find the highest dose that does not cause harmful side effects. Usually there is no control treatment for comparison. This process determines a safe, appropriate dose for use in Phase II.
  • Phase II
    This phase provides continued safety testing of a new agent, along with an evaluation of how well it works against a specific type of cancer. The new agent is given to groups of people and is usually compared with a standard treatment.
  • Phase III
    This phase answers research questions across the disease continuum and includes large numbers of participants so that the differences in effectiveness of the new agent can be evaluated. If the results of this phase merit further use of the new agent, the pharmaceutical company will usually submit a New Drug Application to the FDA.

Diagnostics

The determination of the nature of a disease or ailment.  A clinical diagnosis is based on the medical history and physical examination of the patient.

Glial Cells

Cells that provide structure to the central nervous system and insulate and protect neurons (cells that transmit electrical impulses that allow seeing/hearing/smelling/tasting).

Glioma

The term used to refer to the most prevalent primary brain tumors.  Gliomas arise from glial tissue, which supports and nourishes cells that send messages from the brain to other parts of the body.

Glioblastoma

Also known as glioblastoma multiforme, this is the most common and aggressive malignant primary brain tumor in humans, involving glial cells and accounting for 52 percent of all functional tissue brain tumor cases and 20 percent of all intracranial tumors.

GBM

GBM is an abbreviation for glioblastoma multiforme.

Translational Genomics

Innovative advances arising from the Human Genome Project, applying them to the development of diagnostics, prognostics and therapies for cancer, neurological disorders, diabetes and other complex diseases

Dr. Reid Goes Deeper Into the Brain

The Brain’s Inner Language

By JAMES GORMAN

SEATTLE — When Clay Reid decided to leave his job as a professor at Harvard Medical School to become a senior investigator at the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle in 2012, some of his colleagues congratulated him warmly and understood right away why he was making the move.

Others shook their heads. He was, after all, leaving one of the world’s great universities to go to the academic equivalent of an Internet start-up, albeit an extremely well- financed, very ambitious one, created in 2003 by Paul Allen, a founder of Microsoft.

Still, “it wasn’t a remotely hard decision,” Dr. Reid said. He wanted to mount an all-out investigation of a part of the mouse brain. And although he was happy at Harvard, the Allen Institute offered not only great colleagues and deep pockets, but also an approach to science different from the classic university environment. The institute was already mapping the mouse brain in fantastic detail, and specialized in the large-scale accumulation of information in atlases and databases available to all of science.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/25/science/the-brains-inner-language.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20140225&_r=0&referrer

Such a Beautiful Story

200 Friends Throw Early Prom to Surprise Teen Diagnosed with Brain Cancer

By KELLI BENDER

200 Friends Surprise Teen Diagnosed with Brain Cancer with Early Prom

Cancer has taken a toll on Amber Martin, but the teen’s friends made sure it didn’t take away her prom.

Martin had been looking forward to the cherished high school event since she met her boyfriend Austin Hunt in the summer of 2013. The 16-year-old even moved from her home in Lancaster, Penn., to attend high school with Hunt in Kansasa, Okla., according to Lancaster Online.

Shortly after the move and six years after Martin’s first bout with cancer, the teen’s astrocytoma, a type of brain cancer, came out of remission. The discovery rattled Martin’s new life, especially after losing her father to cancer three years earlier. She returned home for treatment and gave up on the prom she’d been anticipating for months.

“Amber wanted to attend the prom with her new boyfriend, Austin, but unfortunately, her cancer is terminal, so that’s not possible,” said her mother, Angela Hurst, to Lancaster Online. “So we made her wish known to some friends. We were hoping to do this very small and intimate, but with everyone getting involved and the donations we’ve gotten, it has turned into the night of her dreams.”

The initially small group of prom planners grew into a 200 person party committee dedicated to giving this cancer-stricken high schooler her simple wish.

Read more: http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20782901,00.html