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.

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.

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

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

Viv Raises Money for Brain Tumor Charity with a Cookbook

Brave mum Viv copes with battling a brain tumour by signing up celebrities and their recipes for her fundraising cook book

VIV MCBETH, of Prestwick was 32 when doctor’s discovered she had a brain tumour after she suffered blinding headaches which would wake her up during the night.

Viv McBeth is has raised £8000 for Brain Tumour UK from her cookbook, Viv's Kitchen.
Viv McBeth is has raised £8000 for Brain Tumour UK from her cookbook, Viv’s Kitchen.
WHEN Viv McBeth beat a deadly brain tumour, she wanted to help the doctors who saved her life.

So she signed up celebrities for a cookbook to raise cash for research into the condition through the charity Brain Tumour UK.

Lorraine Kelly, Miranda Hart and Matthew Wright are among those who supplied favourite dishes for the book, called Viv’s Kitchen, which so far has raised £8000.

Viv, now 40, found her world was turned upside down when she was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour, aged 32.

Scared she wouldn’t live to see her son Euan, then three, start school, she found comfort in her love of cooking.

Viv, a former financial adviser, now works full time for the Brain Tumour UK Charity.

She compiled the cookbook after meeting telly queen Lorraine at a charity awards ceremony and then wrote to a host of other household names asking for their help.

The mum-of-one, from ­Prestwick, Ayrshire, was delighted when Lorraine replied with a recipe for her mum Anne’s signature homemade chicken soup.

Contributions from comedian Miranda, TV presenter Matthew, former Scotland goalie Alan Rough and Rab C Nesbitt star Barbara Rafferty followed.

Viv is now hoping to attract more famous names for a second edition.

She said: “Home cooking was one of the things that kept me going when I was down. Making healthy meals made me feel good and I wanted to share my love of food with others.

“I couldn’t believe it when Lorraine Kelly sent me a recipe for her mum’s homemade chicken soup, so I decided to email more celebrities. Soon, Miranda Hart had sent me a recipe for a trifle and Matthew Wright another for a lovely chicken dish cooked with spinach.

“The teachers at my son’s school tell me how much they’ve enjoyed making the recipes.”

Viv first felt ill while making a banoffee pie in April 2005.

Days of blinding headaches followed and she and husband Paul, 44, began to worry when the pain became so bad she couldn’t sleep.

But they could never have prepared themselves for the devastating news that followed.

Viv said: “I thought I had a bug but I was waking Paul up at 3am asking him to massage my temples because the pain was so bad.

“Luckily, my GP took me ­seriously and they gave me a CT scan. Ten days later, I was told it was a cancerous brain tumour and I’d need ­radiotherapy.

“I was devastated – it was like being punched in the stomach. I was a young mum and I never thought anything like it would happen to me.

“I just felt so alone. I’d never heard of anyone who had brain cancer at 32 and I was terrified I would never see my son grow up.”

Viv had 33 sessions of ­radiotherapy and was given a life expectancy of five years.

But she has enjoyed good health since her treatment and has founded a support group for brain tumour sufferers in her area.

She added: “I wouldn’t say I’d had the all-clear but I’ve had good health for the last few years and feel blessed to have reached my 40th birthday.

“My tumour was only detected as it had a pocket of fluid around it that was causing the headaches.

“It could have been a different story and it’s because I’m one of the lucky ones I’ve done this.

“I had a good job but my illness made me rethink things and I realised spending time with my family was more important than going on two holidays a year.

“I had to stay positive for Euan but I was determined that cancer wouldn’t ruin my life.

“The cookbook was a lot of work but handing over a big cheque to Brain Tumour UK made it ­worthwhile.

“Research into brain tumours is underfunded, so it’s important to raise awareness of the ­condition. I hope people remember that every time they open the book.”

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/real-life/brave-mum-viv-copes-battling-2155728

A Scientific Breakthrough for Brain Tumors in Children

Stanford: Scientists Illuminate Brain Tumors in Mice

With the use of a “molecular flashlight” scientists hope to target tumors medulloblastomas in children one of the most devastating of the malignant childhood brain tumors.

Jennifer Cochran and Matthew Scott have created a bioengineered peptide that has been shown in mice to provide better imaging of a type of brain tumor known as medulloblastoma. Credit John Todd.
Jennifer Cochran and Matthew Scott have created a bioengineered peptide that has been shown in mice to provide better imaging of a type of brain tumor known as medulloblastoma. Credit John Todd.

In a breakthrough that could have wide-ranging applications in molecular medicine, Stanford University researchers have created a bioengineered peptide that enables imaging of medulloblastomas, among the most devastating of malignant childhood brain tumors, in lab mice.

The team used their invention as a “molecular flashlight” to distinguish tumors from surrounding healthy tissue. After injecting their bioengineered knottin into the bloodstreams of mice with medulloblastomas, the researchers found that the peptide stuck tightly to the tumors and could be detected using a high-sensitivity digital camera.

The findings are described in a study published online Aug. 12 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“Researchers have been interested in this class of peptides for some time,” said Jennifer Cochran, PhD, an associate professor of bioengineering and a senior author of the study. “They’re extremely stable. For example, you can boil some of these peptides or expose them to harsh chemicals, and they’ll remain intact.” That makes them potentially valuable in molecular medicine. Knottins could be used to deliver drugs to specific sites in the body or, as Cochran and her colleagues have demonstrated, as a means of illuminating tumors.
For treatment purposes, it’s critical to obtain accurate images of medulloblastomas. In conjunction with chemotherapy and radiation therapy, the tumors are often treated by surgical resection, and it can be difficult to remove them while leaving healthy tissue intact because their margins are often indistinct.

“With brain tumors, you really need to get the entire tumor and leave as much unaffected tissue as possible,” Cochran said. “These tumors can come back very aggressively if not completely removed, and their location makes cognitive impairment a possibility if healthy tissue is taken.”

The researchers’ molecular flashlight works by recognizing a biomarker on human tumors. The bioengineered knottin is conjugated to a near-infrared imaging dye. When injected into the bloodstreams of a strain of mice that develop tumors similar to human medullublastomas, the peptide attaches to the brain tumors’ integrin receptors — sticky molecules that aid in adhesion to other cells.

But while the knottins stuck like glue to tumors, they were rapidly expelled from healthy tissue. “So the mouse brain tumors are readily apparent,” Cochran said. “They differentiate beautifully from the surrounding brain tissue.”

The new peptide represents a major advance in tumor-imaging technology, said Melanie Hayden Gephart, MD, neurosurgery chief resident at the Stanford Brain Tumor Center and a lead author of the paper.

“The most common technique to identify brain tumors relies on preoperative, intravenous injection of a contrast agent, enabling most tumors to be visualized on a magnetic resonance imaging scan,” Gephart said. These MRI scans are used like in a computer program much like an intraoperative GPS system to locate and resect the tumors.

“But that has limitations,” she added. “When you’re using the contrast in an MRI scan to define the tumor margins, you’re basically working off a preoperative snapshot. The brain can sometimes shift during an operation, so there’s always the possibility you may not be as precise or accurate as you want to be. The great potential advantage of this new approach would be to illuminate the tumor in real time — you could see it directly under your microscope instead of relying on an image that was taken before surgery.”

Though the team’s research focused on medulloblastomas, Gephart said it’s likely the new knottins could prove useful in addressing other cancers.

“We know that integrins exist on many types of tumors,” she said. “The blood vessels that tumors develop to sustain themselves also contain integrins. So this has the potential for providing very detailed, real-time imaging for a wide variety of tumors.”

And imaging may not be the only application for the team’s engineered peptide.

“We’re very interested in related opportunities,” Cochran said. “We envision options we didn’t have before for getting molecules into the brain.” In other words, by substituting drugs for dye, the knottins might allow the delivery of therapeutic compounds directly to cranial tumors — something that has proved extremely difficult to date because of the blood/brain barrier, the mechanism that makes it difficult for pathogens, as well as medicines, to traverse from the bloodstream to the brain.

“We’re looking into it now,” Cochran said.

A little serendipity was involved in the peptide’s development, said Sarah Moore, a recently graduated bioengineering PhD student and another lead author of the study. Indeed, the propinquity of Cochran’s laboratory to co-author Matthew Scott’s lab at Stanford’s James H. Clark Center catalyzed the project. “Our labs are next to each other,” Moore said. “We had the peptide, and Matt had ideal models of pediatric brain tumors  —mice that develop tumors in a similar manner to human medulloblastomas. Our partnership grew out of that.”

Scott, PhD, professor of bioengineering and of developmental biology, credits the design of the Clark Center as a contributor to the project. The building is home to Stanford’s Bioengineering Department, a collaboration between the School of Engineering and the School of Medicine, and Stanford Bio-X, an initiative that encourages communication among researchers in diverse scientific disciplines.

“So in a very real sense, our project wasn’t an accident,” Scott said. “In fact, it’s exactly the kind of work the Clark Center was meant to foster. The lab spaces are wide and open, with very few walls and lots of glass. We have a restaurant that only has large tables — no tables for two, so people have to sit together. Everything is designed to increase the odds that people will meet and talk. It’s a form of social engineering that really works.”

Scott said he is gratified by the collaboration that led to the team’s breakthrough, and observed that the peptide has proved a direct boon to his own work. About 15 percent of Scott’s mice develop the tumors requisite for medulloblastoma research. The problem, he said, is that the cancers are cryptic in their early stages.

“By the time you know the mice have them, many of the things you want to study — the genesis and development of the tumors — are past,” Scott said. “We needed ways to detect these tumors early, and we needed methods for following the steps of tumor genesis.”

Ultimately, Scott concluded, the development of the new peptide can be attributed to Stanford’s long-established traditions of openness and relentless inquiry.

“You find not just a willingness, but an eagerness to exchange ideas and information here,” Scott said. “It transcends any competitive instinct, any impulse toward proprietary thinking. It is what makes Stanford — well, Stanford.”

The Stanford Center for Children’s Brain Tumors at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital is supporting ongoing work by the group to translate the new technology into patient care. Additional funding came from the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, the V Foundation for Cancer Research, the James S. McDonnell Foundation, the Stanford Cancer Institute, the National Science Foundation, a Stanford University graduate fellowship, a Siebel Scholars fellowship, a Gerald J. Lieberman fellowship, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the Stanford Child Health Research Institute.

Other Stanford co-authors were postdoctoral scholar Jamie Bergen, PhD; medical student Yourong Sophie Su; and life science research assistant Helen Rayburn.

Glen Martin is a freelance writer in Santa Rosa, Calif., for the School of Engineering’s communications office.

Courtesy of the Stanford News Service

For more information: http://paloalto.patch.com/groups/around-town/p/stanford-scientists-illuminate-brain-tumors-in-mice

In Catherine’s Words

Ben and Catherine

“Ben loved the art of deal-making and one of his greatest strengths was turning challenges into opportunities. He was not afraid of risk, which is why we will not only fund science of merit but “riskier” science.”

-Catherine Ivy

Five Former Phillies Battle Brain Cancer Since 1973

Ex-Phillies wonder if stadium is to blame for players’ brain cancer

Randy Miller, USA TODAY Sports4:17 p.m. EDT July 22, 2013
Larry Bowa can’t help but wonder.

He gets sick to his stomach thinking about Darren Daulton, yet another former Phillies player battling brain cancer.

Pitcher Ken Brett died in 2003. Tug McGraw, a star reliever and 1980 World Series hero, and catcher Johnny Oates lost their battles in 2004. Third baseman and longtime coach John Vukovich died in 2007.

Now Daulton, star catcher on the Phillies’ beloved 1993 World Series team, is in a fight for his life at age 51. He was diagnosed this month with glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer.

“Yeah, it’s very scary,” said Bowa, who spent 24 seasons with the Phillies as a player, coach and manager. “I know cancer is a big illness in our society, but to have that many (Phillies) guys get brain cancer …”

A lot of people, former Phillies included, want to know if the illnesses are just bad luck or if there is some sort of connection — perhaps to Veterans Stadium, the multipurpose sports venue that was home to the franchise from 1971 to 2003 and demolished in 2004.

“Once it happened to Tug, we were all in shock,” said Dickie Noles, a pitcher on the Phillies’ 1980 World Series team. “Then once it happened to Vuk (Vukovich), the other ballplayers kind of had the feeling like, ‘Wow.’ Then when it happened to Daulton, every ballplayer I’ve seen talked about it.

“There seems to be some correlation with this and baseball. What was the Vet built on? Was it something in the building? The asbestos?”

Bowa said the same questions came up during recent conversations he had with former Phillies Dave Hollins, Greg Luzinski and Marty Bystrom.

“I know there were a lot of pipes that were exposed when we played there and we had AstroTurf,” recalled Bowa, now an in-studio analyst for the MLB Network.

“I’m not trying to blame anybody. It’s just sort of strange that that can happen to one team playing at the Vet.”

Five Phillies victims in such a short span is apparently a lot. National studies have indicated males have a 0.7 percent chance of being diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, with women at 0.6 percent. Local figures seem to indicate that 3.14 percent of the Phillies’ 159 players from 1973 (Brett’s only year on the team) to 1983 (Daulton’s first season with the club) were diagnosed with brain cancer.

“It is sort of wild, but probably complete coincidence,” said Dr. Richard Osenbach, a brain surgeon in Fayetteville, N.C., who grew up in Philadelphia and is a lifelong Phillies fan.

“Jeez, Louise, I can’t imagine it would have anything to do with baseball.”

So far, there’s no proof the Phillies players’ cancer cases are anything but a string of misfortunes.

“There is not a known cause for brain tumors,” according to Deneen Hesser, chief mission officer for the American Brain Tumor Association.

Other than the five Phillies, just four other major leaguers were diagnosed with brain cancers and died over the last 15 years: Hall of Famer Gary Carter, Dan Quisenberry, Bobby Murcer and Dick Howser. All of them played games at the Vet, but so did hundreds of others who have never had issues.

The Eagles also played home games at the Vet for decades and it’s believed they never had a brain cancer victim.

“Can I say definitively that it’s a fluke? No,” said Jill Barnholtz-Sloan, a Cleveland-based brain-tumor epidemiologist who does research at Case Western Reserve University.

“They all played for the Phillies, but not in the same year. One played for a year, one for 10 years. So it’s really difficult to say, ‘Oh, it’s because they played for the Phillies that this has happened.’

“Unfortunately, I think what you may end up with is just a very bizarre circumstance.”

From 1989 to 1999, Amoco, an American oil giant that later merged with British Petroleum to form BP, spent millions of dollars on a investigation after a cluster of employees at an Illinois plant were diagnosed with brain tumors and several of them died.

The Amoco Research Center building was demolished and the victims’ families won a financial settlement from the company.

But the investigation proved nothing.

“I can tell you that I know of multiple other clusters of people living in the same area who have been diagnosed with the same cancer that have been studied,” Barnholtz-Sloan said. “They’ve been investigated by state health and local health departments and, in most, they’ve not been able to find anything.

“As a brain tumor epidemiologist — and there aren’t very many of us worldwide — one of the most difficult things to prove is causation. There are so many things going on. You have to account for the way an individual lived, things that they ate, whether they smoke or drank, whether or not they had a family history of cancer, how old they were.”

The Phillies’ brain cancer cluster has not yet yielded a case study, which would be headed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

“I know the department of health is aware of the situation and is not currently conducting an investigation,” Kait Gillis, the organization’s deputy press secretary, wrote in an email. “I will let you know if that changes.”

Bowa wishes somebody would do something.

“I think for guys that are still alive, it would ease some of their questions.”

If Barnholtz-Sloan were to lead an investigation, the first thing she’d do is take a detailed look into each Phillies’ case and compare them to national figures.

“The reason cancer is called a complex disease is because it’s a combination of lots of different things happening all at the same time that cause a normal cell to convert to a cancer cell,” she explained.

Meantime, Daulton is fighting his battle against long odds. According to the American Brain Tumor Association, median survival for patients with glioblastoma is 12 to 14 months and the two-year survival rate is just 30 percent.

“It is a challenging disease, a very aggressive type of tumor, but more and more we’re learning that there are some biologic differences in these tumors,” Hesser noted. “There are long-term survivors.”

Noles and former Phillies player Glenn Wilson, both born-again Christians, are praying for their former teammate.

“I’m still kind of numb,” said Wilson, a Phillies outfielder from 1984 to 1987 who now lives in Houston. “First and foremost, God has his reasons and his ways are not our ways. I want to rejoice the lives of the ones who have passed and pray for those that are struggling with that disease.”

Noles, now working for the Phillies as an employee assistance professional, admits losing baseball friends makes him think of his mortality.

“Ain’t this crazy?” he asked. “Vukovich was one of the biggest mentors in my life and I loved Vuk dearly. Tug, I don’t think I’ve met a better person in my life. And Dutch, he’s just a great human being.

“Life is difficult and there’s bumps in the road all over the place. Cancer happens to be one of the major ones. When you hear about it, it hits home.

“I think we should be doing what we can when we’re healthy to live our life.”

Bowa is among the few with connections to all five of the cancer-stricken Phillies. He coached Daulton and was a teammate to the others.

He wants answers that aren’t there.

“It’s hard to believe that there’s no documentation. It’s very ironic that four or five of our guys have gotten brain cancer.

“It seems very, very rare.”

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/phillies/2013/07/22/darren-daulton-brain-cancer-philadelphia-phillies-tug-mcgraw/2574139/