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

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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

Community Support is Everything

Outpouring of support for young W.Va. man battling brain cancer

Elaine Blaisdell

OAKLAND — The outpouring of emotional and monetary support from the community for 20-year-old Dylan Jones, who has been battling stage 4 glioblastoma brain cancer, has been tremendous, according to his mother Erika Graham of Oakland.

“I have been floored by the response from the community,” Graham said. “The support from Garrett County alone has been tremendous, every business has posted signs asking for prayer for him. I’ve been amazed by the support of the community, it has been really great. People all over the United States have said they are praying.”

Jones, described by others as a guy who would do anything for anybody, was diagnosed with glioblastoma in December 2012. He underwent surgery at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, W.Va., a year ago, then underwent chemotherapy and radiation at Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke University in Durham, N.C.

While receiving treatment at Duke, Jones’ insurance coverage was exhausted and costs weren’t covered, Graham said. In October, Jones was doing great and there was no sign of the cancer, according to his mother, but around Thanksgiving he started feeling tingling and numbness on his right side. Following an MRI, it was confirmed that the brain tumor had returned and that cancer cells had spread to other areas of the brain.

“The doctors decided to change his chemotherapy and medicine to try to shrink the tumor but his body didn’t respond to any of the treatments,” said Graham. “He got home last Tuesday and we decided we have exhausted all treatment options. We are now doing alternative treatments now. We are praying and hoping for the best.”

Numerous fundraisers have been held in both Oakland and Keyser, W.Va., to help with medical expenses. Money from fundraisers currently being held will go toward the holistic treatments Jones is undergoing. Insurance doesn’t cover the costs of the alternative treatments, which cost $2,800 a month, Graham said.

“It is so very important that he doesn’t miss any dosages so we have to make sure we always have the money on hand to order what we need when we need it,” wrote Graham on the Dylan Jones Cancer Support Group Facebook page. “He is also on a very strict diet so we can only feed him organic fruits and vegetables.”

The biggest fundraiser thus far has been Dollars for Dylan, which is set up at the Wepco Federal Credit Union in Oakland. GiveForward, another fundraiser, has raised $2,915.

On the GiveForward blog, Graham said she is not giving up and asks people to do the same.

“Even though our hearts are crushed we are not giving up,” wrote Graham. “The pain I’m feeling right now as my heart aches for my son is unbearable but I’m determined not to lose hope. I don’t know what God’s plan is here but I sure hope it’s to prove he can make miracles happen.”

Jones and the news of his fight against brain cancer has gone viral on social media, so much so that #DylanJonesFight started trending on Twitter, according to Graham. Celebrities like country music singer Wynonna Judd and Duck Dynasty have retweeted #DylanJonesFight and country music artist Colt Ford has stated on Twitter that he is praying for Jones.

Other fundraisers include Thirty One, Pampered Chef, hoagie, T-shirt and window sticker sales, as well as cash bash and band benefits. A campaign on Booster.com that is selling T-shirts has garnered $490.

Basketball players from Union, Keyser and Frankfort high schools recently wore gray, which is the color for brain cancer awareness, during their respective games in support of Jones.

The Kenny Jones Band of Keyser played at Schmitt’s Saloon in Morgantown earlier this month and raised $247 for Jones, according to their Facebook page. The band has been holding various fundraisers for Jones throughout the year.

Upcoming fundraisers include a bake sale at 7-Eleven in Oakland Saturday starting at 8 a.m. and band benefit on Feb. 8 at the Black Bear Tavern and Restaurant in McHenry from 7 p.m. until closing. The Dylan Jones Cancer Fund Facebook page, which has 3,260 members thus far, has updates on additional upcoming fundraisers.

Jones is a 2011 graduate of Union High School and following graduation he worked on his grandfather, Roy Jones’ farm in Elk Garden, according to Graham.

Jones is the son of Craig Jones of Mount Storm, the stepson of Jeremy Graham of Oakland, the brother of Brianna and Wesley Jones both of Mount Storm, the great grandson of floyd “Buck” Jones of Elk Garden, the grandson of Roy and Priscilla Jones of Elk Garden and Ramona and James Hanlin of Mount Storm.

Anyone wishing to send cards or donate may send them to the The Dylan Jones Cancer Fund, 3976 Mayhew Inn Road, Oakland MD, 21550. Donations can also be made on the GiveForward website at https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/4yk3/dylan-jones-cancer-fund  

Source: http://www.times-news.com/local/x1724065386/Outpouring-of-support-for-young-Oakland-man-battling-brain-cancer

A Former Teacher with Brain Cancer Talks Priorities

After A Cancer Diagnosis, Lessons In Priorities

Teaching high school English came naturally to David Menasche but a terminal brain cancer diagnosis forced him to leave the classroom. So he visited some of his former students to see what impact he’s had on them. He writes about the experience in his forthcoming book, The Priority List

TRANSCRIPT

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I’m Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Christmas is here and later in the program, we have a special gift for you. Some of our favorite conversations of the year from translating hip-hop lyrics into sign language, to a legendary musician turning personal grief into powerful song. First, though, a teacher who’s inspiring his students less with his lesson plans and more with his life.

David Menasche taught English in a Miami high school for years. But as he approached the final stages of terminal brain cancer, Menasche decided it was time to hit the road. He spent more than a hundred days traveling hundreds of miles by train and car visiting some of his former students. And he wrote about the journey in a upcoming book called, “The Priority List: A Teacher’s Final Quest to Discover Life’s Greatest Lessons.” And he joins me now. David, welcome to the program.

DAVID MENASCHE: Thank you, Celeste.

HEADLEE: It wasn’t after you got diagnosed that you decided to go on this trip. What’s shocked me a bit was that it was after you’d actually lost a large…

MENASCHE: Exactly.

HEADLEE: …Portion of your vision when it would be the hardest – the most difficult, it seems to be, to go traveling. Why then?

MENASCHE: Well, it wasn’t the diagnosis of brain cancer that got me motivated to go on the trip. It was actually this past July 10, 2012, I suffered a stroke that took away the left side of my body and half of my vision. And at that point, I realized I couldn’t teach anymore, as I couldn’t drive. I couldn’t even get to work, much less watch a over a class of 30 students. So bored, frustrated and feeling purposeless, I decided to take a trip to go visit my former students. So I put a post on Facebook, and within 48 hours, I had offers in 50 different cities, which led to a trip of over 8,000 miles, 75 different students and different couches, over 101 days, and as you said, a book.

HEADLEE: So did you basically decide to visit each student that invited you on Facebook? Or did you…

MENASCHE: Yes.

HEADLEE: …Pick and choose?

MENASCHE: No, my intention was to go see every single one of them, but unfortunately, because of circumstances – you know, kids get sick, people get pulled out of town, things like that happen – I didn’t get to see every single one of the students that I had got an offer from. But I did get the lion’s share of it. Making it all the way to the Pacific Ocean for the first time for me.

HEADLEE: So the question you were asking these students was what kind of impact did I have on your life, right?

MENASCHE: I wanted to know if I made a difference.

HEADLEE: Do you think you were able to get an honest answer from them? I mean, I would imagine that with you sitting right in front of them…

MENASCHE: Absolutely. I had quite a few students tell me, oh, I hated your class. You put me on the spot all of the time. I never felt prepared. But, you know, at the same time, I would ask them, did that in any way help you? And very frequently the answer would be yes.

You know, that being forced to think on their feet, being forced to answer questions ultimately was a benefit. But no, not all of them were, you know, just fawning over me, which was good because that’s what I wanted was an honest answer. But for the most part, I got a range within each one of them where they would say, this part of the class was amazing. This other part of the class, I could’ve done without.

Read more: http://www.npr.org/2013/12/25/256874611/sorting-priorities-after-a-cancer-diagnosis

A Woman’s Final Months Told Through Twitter

The Incredible Story Of A Woman’s Final Months Fighting Brain Cancer As Told Through Her Tweets

Source: http://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis/the-incredible-story-of-a-womans-final-months-fighting-brain

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.