Ivy Foundation in Oncology Times

The Ben & Catherine Ivy Foundation has awarded the following individuals grants and funding for brain cancer research in 2012:

  • Greg D. Foltz, MD, Director of the Ben & Catherine Ivy Center for Advanced Brain Tumor Treatment at the Swedish Medical Center, $2.5 million over three years;
  • John Carpten, PhD, and David Craig, PhD, both of the Translational Genomics Research Institute for a collaborative effort with researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, UCLA, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, MD Anderson Cancer Center, and University of Utah, $5 million over five years; and
  • Brandy Wells, Manager of Science Education and Outreach at the Translational Genomics Research Institute, has received $45,000 annually for the Ivy Neurological Sciences Internship Program.

For more information: http://journals.lww.com/oncology-times/Fulltext/2013/06250/SHOP_TALK__Appointments,_Promotions,_Honors,.18.aspx


Swedish Offers New Treatment for Glioblastoma Brain Tumors

brain-cancer-gliomaSEATTLE, Feb. 6, 2013 – Swedish Neuroscience Institute has added a new and innovative therapy to its treatment arsenal for glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) – a very aggressive and difficult to control brain tumor.

The NovoTTF™-100A System is the first device to receive U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval as a treatment for brain tumors. It will now play an important role in treating GBM when standard treatment options have been exhausted. Because there are minimal treatment-related side effects with the NovoTTF-100A System, the quality of life for patients treated with this new therapy is superior to that associated with chemotherapy.

GBM was the cause of death of United States Senator Ted Kennedy. It is the most common and malignant type of brain tumor. Standard treatment includes surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and radiosurgery (such as Gamma Knife® or CyberKnife®). These treatments usually control the tumor for only one to two years.

The NovoTTF-100A System is a medical device that delivers intermediate-frequency, alternating electrical fields to the tumor. Alternating electrical fields inhibit cell division (mitosis) in the tumor, potentially slowing or stopping tumor growth.

The device comprises two components: a portable electrical source (the electric field generator) and four large patches, each containing nine ceramic discs called transducer arrays. The patches form a cap-like device that is affixed to the patient’s scalp with adhesive. The electrical source can be plugged into a wall outlet or can run on batteries, giving patients the freedom to go about their daily activities. The FDA approved the system for the treatment of recurrent GBM in April 2011.

“We are still learning the appropriate role and timing for the NovoTTF-100A System in patients with recurrent GBM,” says John W. Henson, M.D., FAAN, a neuro-oncologist at the Ivy Center. “However, we see it as an important treatment option for patients who cannot undergo additional surgery or chemotherapy.”

Swedish Neuroscience Institute is one of the few centers in the United States whose clinical staff has been trained and certified in the use of this new system. It is also the only study location in the Northwest participating in a related clinical trial that is evaluating the use of the NovoTTF-100A System as treatment immediately after a patient is diagnosed with GBM. In this study, the system is used in addition to radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

More information about the NovoTTF-100A System is available at www.novottftherapy.com.

About Swedish

Founded in 1910, Swedish is the largest non-profit health provider in the Greater Seattle area. It is comprised of five hospital campuses (First Hill, Cherry Hill, Ballard, Edmonds and Issaquah); ambulatory care centers in Redmond and Mill Creek; and Swedish Medical Group, a network of more than 100 primary-care and specialty clinics located throughout the Greater Puget Sound area. In addition to general medical and surgical care including robotic-assisted surgery, Swedish is known as a regional referral center, providing specialized treatment in areas such as cardiovascular care, cancer care, neuroscience, orthopedics, high-risk obstetrics, pediatric specialties, organ transplantation and clinical research. For more information, visit www.swedish.org,www.swedishcares.org,   www.facebook.com/swedishmedicalcente or www.twitter.com/swedish.

About Swedish Neuroscience Institute

In 2004, Swedish expanded its neuroscience services by establishing the Swedish Neuroscience Institute (SNI). Since then, a team of leading specialists has built a world-class institute dedicated solely to the treatment and advancement of neurological disorders for patients in the Pacific Northwest and from around the world. The specialists at SNI are dedicated to the treatment and research of neurological disorders. The institute is located at Swedish/Cherry Hill in Seattle and includes a team of neurologists, neurosurgeons and subspecialists who are focused on expanding access to critical neuroscience services and specialized treatments. SNI has made a commitment to ensuring quality outcomes by acquiring the most advanced technology and by participating in leading-edge research.

About the Ben and Catherine Ivy Center for Advanced Brain Tumor Treatment

Opened in 2008, the Ben and Catherine Ivy Center for Advanced Brain Tumor Treatment (Ivy Center) gives brain-tumor patients and their family’s access to a unique multidisciplinary team of skilled neurosurgeons, oncologists, radiologists, and a specialized nursing staff to deliver coordinated care and innovative treatments for both benign and malignant brain tumors. The Ivy Center’s unique design places its world-class research facility directly adjacent to the outpatient clinic, providing patients with immediate access to promising new therapies. As part of the Swedish Neuroscience Institute located in the Swedish/Cherry Hill Campus, the Ivy Center is the first brain tumor-specific, community-based facility of its kind in the Pacific Northwest and is providing new hope for patients with all stages of brain tumors, including brain cancer.

Congratulations to Our Partners at Swedish Medical Center

Swedish Medical Center Foundation Raises $100 Million to Help Meet Increasing Demand for Regional Health-Care Services

The Campaign for Swedish initiative exceeds fund-raising goal during challenging economic times; Initial $100 million campaign goal reached 18 months early

SEATTLE, Oct. 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Swedish Medical Center’s seven-year fund-raising initiative, called The Campaign for Swedish, has raised $103 million, exceeding its initial $100 million fund-raising goal in approx. five-and-a-half years.  The Campaign, launched to help improve patient care and treatment options throughout the Swedish system, is the largest fund-raising effort undertaken by the private, non-profit health system to date.

“We launched this Campaign with the vision of creating the region’s first broad-based, full-service, non-profit health system that is nationally and internationally known for providing exceptional care,” said Janet True, co-chair of the Campaign Leadership Council. “Raising $100 million in seven years seemed ambitious seven years ago, and we have been humbled by the community’s generosity in helping us exceed our initial goal more than a year and a half ahead of schedule.”

More than 50,000 community members have contributed to The Campaign for Swedish to date. The Swedish Medical Center Foundation, the fundraising arm of the hospital, has had five consecutive record-breaking years, bolstered by $11.8 millionraised from Swedish physicians and 26 gifts of $1 million or more during a period when many non-profit health-care organizations have struggled to maintain contributions.

“Swedish has a long history as one of our region’s premier health-care delivery systems,” said Campaign Co-Chair Dave Sabey. During a challenging time for health care in the United States, we are fortunate to count on the community’s generous investment to ensure that Swedish continues to deliver outstanding health care for all those who need it in the Puget Sound region.”

More than 40 Major Initiatives Supported to Date

The Campaign for Swedish has funded more than 40 major programs and projects at Swedish. Major priorities supported by the Campaign include:

  • Cancer: $18.8 million has been given by the community to advance treatment, buy new technology, support research and develop new facilities within the Swedish Cancer Institute. The new True Family Women’s Cancer Center is a direct result of this effort, as is the Breast Care Express.
  • Neuroscience: $16.7 million has been directed to the Swedish Neuroscience Institute to support facilities and technology upgrades, and to establish two state-of-the-art centers for the treatment of brain tumors and multiple sclerosis: the Ben & Catherine Ivy Center for Advanced Brain Tumor Treatment and the new Swedish MS Center.
  • Heart & Vascular: $12 million for the Swedish Heart & Vascular Institute has been given to endow medical directorships, launch capital projects, advance clinical research, and support patient education as well as outreach programs. These funds supported the comprehensive heart failure program and expanded our cardiac clinical research program.
  • Community Health: $10.4 million to advance community health initiatives at Swedish to provide quality health care to the growing number of uninsured and underinsured members of our community. Among the major community health programs supported by the Campaign is the Swedish Community Specialty and Dental Clinic, a specialty care center that provides surgical and specialty care – including specialty dental care – at no cost to low-income uninsured and underinsured patients.
  • Pediatrics and Women and Infants: $5 million was given by the community to provide program support to moms and babies as well as pediatric programs at Swedish. The Gossman Center for Advanced Healthcare Simulation and the expanded Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Swedish/First Hill were direct benefactors of these funds, as was pediatric therapy and child life services.

Campaign Fundraising to Continue through December 2013

During the next 15 months, the Swedish Medical Center Foundation will continue to partner with hospital and Campaign leadership to raise additional funds for new and existing programs, including the True Family Women’s Cancer Center, the MS Center at Swedish, the Ivy Center for Advanced Brain Tumor Treatment, and the Comprehensive Heart Failure Program.

Support generated during the “Campaign Homestretch” is also needed to support new initiatives, such as the creation of a new postpartum wellness and education center that will meet the increased patient demand for Swedish services. The Lytle Center, named for a generous $1 million lead gift from Chuck and Karen Lytle, will provide state-of-the-art outpatient follow-up care and support for new babies and mothers in a large, accessible and welcoming space at the First Hill campus.

“We are so grateful for this community’s overwhelming support of The Campaign for Swedish in allowing us to advance health care for more than 2,000,000 patients,” said Swedish Foundation’s Executive Director Don Theophilus. “Having raised more than $3 million beyond our initial $100 million campaign goal in less than six years is very exciting, but we’re not declaring victory yet. There is still much work which needs to be done.”

About ‘The Campaign for Swedish’

The Swedish Medical Center Foundation launched The Campaign for Swedish in January 2007 in conjunction with the Swedish Medical Center Foundation board and a 17-person volunteer Campaign Leadership Council lead by co-chairs Janet True, Kirby McDonald and Dave Sabey. More information can be found online at www.campaignforswedish.org.

About Swedish

Swedish has grown over the last 102 years to become the largest non-profit health provider in the Greater Seattle area with 11,000 employees, more than 2,000 physicians and 1,700 volunteers. It is comprised of five hospital campuses (First Hill,Cherry Hill, Ballard, Edmonds and Issaquah); ambulatory care centers in Redmond and Mill Creek; and Swedish Medical Group, a network of more than 100 primary-care and specialty clinics located throughout the Greater Puget Sound area. In addition to general medical and surgical care including robotic-assisted surgery, Swedish is known as a regional referral center, providing specialized treatment in areas such as cardiovascular care, cancer care, neuroscience, orthopedics, high-risk obstetrics, pediatric specialties, organ transplantation and clinical research. For more information, visit www.swedish.org,www.swedishcares.orgwww.facebook.com/swedishmedicalcenter, or www.twitter.com/swedish.

Swedish is affiliated with Providence Health & Services, which is a Catholic, not-for-profit organization founded by the Sisters of Providence in 1856 with 27 hospitals, 214 physician clinics and almost 53,000 employees across five states. Based in Renton, Wash., Providence Health & Services provides strategic and management services to integrated health-care systems inAlaska, California, Montana, Oregon and Washington state. For more information, visit www.providence.org.




‘They’re Still Here Because of the Ivy Center’

Submitted by Rose Egge, KOMO Communities Reporter
Monday, September 17th, 2012, 5:00am
'They're still here because of the Ivy Center'
Neurosurgeon Greg Foltz hugs brain cancer survivor Holly Zimmerman at 2011 Brain Cancer Walk.

Dr. Greg Foltz wasn’t always interested in being a brain surgeon. He was first a classically trained pianist at The Julliard School in New York. But while he was in college, a friend of Foltz’s died from brain cancer. Since then, the doctor has devoted his life to treating one of the most deadly forms of cancer.

The life expectancy of a person diagnosed with glioblastoma, the most common form brain cancer, is only about 15 months, just a few months better than it was a century ago.

“We felt we needed to focus our efforts on coming up with better treatment options,” said Foltz.

In an effort to extend the life expectancy of brain cancer patients by as much as 5 years, Foltz is leading cutting-edge clinical trials at the Ben & Catherine Ivy Center for Advanced Brain Tumor Treatment at Swedish. To fund this life saving research, he has helped to organize Seattle’s only Brain Cancer Walkon September 22.

Foltz explains that one of the greatest challenges in treating brain cancer is that, while he can effectively remove tumors in 85 percent of cases, individual cancer cells left behind can be difficult to find and destroy.

In some cases, chemotherapy and radiation can kill these cells and keep new tumors from growing, but these treatments are incredibly harmful to the patient. Chemo causes hair loss, nausea, heart damage and can be too toxic for a patient to handle. Radiation can effect healthy portions of the brain and lead to secondary cancers.

Foltz is working on two clinical trials that could prevent the harmful side effects that come with chemo and radiation: the DCVax Brain Cancer Vaccine Trial and the Toca 511 Trial.

The Brain Cancer Vaccine Trial uses immunotherapy to improve the body’s ability to find and destroy cancer cells. The treatment is based on a theory that our bodies regularly create cancer cells but that tumors only grow when our immune system fails to destroy these cells. Immunotherapy effectively trains a patient’s immune system to destroy the cancer.

In this trial Foltz removes the patient’s tumor, preserving a sample of the cancer cells. Then, he removes some of the patient’s white blood cells and trains them to recognize specific characteristics of the cancer cells.

“It’s a lot like taking an attack dog and giving it clothing to recognize the scent of what it’s looking for,” Foltz said.

The white blood cells are then stimulated and injected back into the patient’s body to search for any remaining cancer cells and destroy them. In cases where immunotherapy is successful patients avoid chemotherapy and radiation. The only side effect Foltz has seen in his trial is a little redness around the injection site, similar to that of the flu vaccine.

“This is a more positive, healthier approach,” Foltz said. “We’re strengthening the patient’s own resistance to tumors. We’re utilizing a new approach, not just adding a different toxic treatment.”

This clinical trial is in stage 3. The next step is approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA has already approved immunotherapy treatment of prostate cancer.

The Ivy center is also one of just eight institutions across the country participating in the Toca 511 trial.

Toca 511 is a virus engineered by Tocagen specifically to seek out tumor cells. After removing a brain tumor, Foltz injects this virus all around the brain. Healthy tissue is not affected as the virus only infects cancer cells, releasing an enzyme into them. Once the virus has had time to spread, the patient is given a second drug that converts that enzyme into a very potent chemotherapy that kills the cancer cells. Because healthy cells are not affected, this treatment also has none of the typical chemo side effects such as nausea or hair loss.

In just 2 years, Foltz hopes to be able to offer Toca 511 to all of his patients.

Neither of these clinical trials would be possible if not for research funding from sources like the Brain Cancer Walk.

Brain cancer survivor Kami Combes, 37, has participated in the walk since it first started 5 years ago.

“The changes I’ve seen in the past 5 years have been amazing,” Combes said.

While she has been cancer free for 5 years now, Combes says seeing the research being done at Ivy Center is comforting, just in case her cancer ever comes back.

“Should anything else happen I’m going to be a little less worried,” Combes said. “If this were to come back there might be different options.”

The walk has also allowed Combes to connect with other survivors.

“We have met people whose first diagnosis was pretty grim, but they’re still here because of the great work being done at the Ivy Center,” Combes said.

The 5th Annual Seattle Brain Cancer Walk will take place on Saturday, September 22 at Seattle Center’s Founders Court. Registration can be done online until September 17, 5 p.m., and in person on event day. All walk proceeds go directly to patient care and research and every dollar raised is matched by $9 in grant funding.




How Dr. Greg Foltz Dedicated His Life to Brain Cancer and Why he Considers it an “Orphan Disease”

Twenty-five years ago brain cancer took the life of someone Greg Foltz was very close to.

“Her father was a neurosurgeon and the chairman of a university department. In the process of his grieving, he mentioned to me nothing really was being done about brain cancer and that what needed to happen was that someone needed to devote their life to this,” says Foltz.

Foltz was a classically-trained pianist, on his way to The Julliard School in New York City.

“I had a career change and decided I was going to do whatever I could to make a difference in the disease. I didn’t know how at the time.”

It takes 12 years to become a brain surgeon. That’s what he did.

FoltzDr. Foltz is now the director of a scientific lab at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle known as the Ivy Center for Advanced Brain Tumor Treatment.

Foltz conducts research on genes in a tumor to better determine why some cancer cells grow back.

He also does about 300 brain surgeries a year. I watched as his precise, unfaltering hands removed a tumor from a person’s brain recently.

Foltz invited reporters to Swedish to see the work brain surgeons do, and to raise awareness about a disease that doesn’t receive a fraction of the public attention or funding as other cancers.

Brain cancer is considered an “orphan disease” in the medical community because of the relatively small number of patients affected.

About 22,000 people in the United States – 500 in Seattle – have heard the devastating sentence, “you have terminal brain cancer.”

That’s not a huge number, and that’s part of the problem.

Pharmaceutical companies are reluctant to finance studies involving a disease with such a short survival rate.

Brain cancer is also a sneaky disease, suddenly striking people who seem healthy.

A KIRO co-worker who was super-fit, Brad Perkins, died of brain cancer at the age of 53 a few years ago. Former KOMO TV anchor Kathi Goertzen recently died after a battle with brain tumors. A couple of weeks ago, Seattle civic leader Cheryl Chow announced she has brain cancer and does not have much time to live.

No one knows what causes brain tumors.

“I don’t even have allergies. Other than having two pretty easy caesarians I didn’t have anything to do with any doctors for any reason,” says Holly Zimmerman.

She was on a camping trip with her family last summer when she had a seizure. Later in trying to figure out what caused her problem, doctors discovered she had a brain tumor. Zimmerman underwent surgery, completed weeks of radiation and chemotherapy, and is optimistic she’ll be one of the few who beats brain cancer.

“I don’t think I will ever be out of the woods,” says Zimmerman, mother of two young children. “I’ve learned enough about brain cancer to know that one naughty cell can go off, wandering off, and create a new tumor.”

“Removing the tumor is easy,” says Dr. Foltz. “Determining why some cancer cells, which all our bodies produce every day, grow back is the difficult part. I’ve always thought we should be able to defeat this cancer which never leaves the brain, unlike other cancers that spread.”

While doctors have made progress in treating breast, colon and other cancers, the FDA has only approved three drugs to treat brain cancer in the past 35 years, and those drugs prolong the lives of patients by only a few months.