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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

World-renowned Sarod Maestro Plays Benefit Concert for TGen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Food and beverages will be available for purchase.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mayor Stanton’s proclamation reads, in part:

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

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

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

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

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

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

About TGen
Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a Phoenix, Arizona-based non-profit organization dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research with life changing results. TGen is focused on helping patients with cancer, neurological disorders and diabetes, through cutting edge translational research (the process of rapidly moving research towards patient benefit). TGen physicians and scientists work to unravel the genetic components of both common and rare complex diseases in adults and children. Working with collaborators in the scientific and medical communities literally worldwide, TGen makes a substantial contribution to help our patients through efficiency and effectiveness of the translational process. For more information, visit: www.tgen.org.

 

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 and NAU Patent for New Pandemic Flu Test is Approved

H1N1 assay benefits patients by helping doctors determine if infections are resistant to available flu treatments

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.- The federal government has awarded a patent to the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and Northern Arizona University (NAU) for a test that can detect — and assist in the treatment of — the H1N1 pandemic flu strain.

TGen and NAU initially developed this precise, genomics-based test during a significant global swine flu outbreak in 2009.

The newly-patented test, developed at TGen’s Pathogen Genomics Division (TGen North) in Flagstaff, can not only detect influenza — as some tests do now — but also can quickly inform doctors about what strain of flu it is, and whether it is resistant to oseltamivir (sold by Roche under the brand name Tamiflu), the primary anti-viral drug on the market to treat H1N1.

As with other influenza strains, H1N1 flu can over time be expected to show signs of resistance to oseltamivir, and new treatments will be needed to respond to future pandemics.

“The problem with influenza is that it can become resistant to the antiviral drugs that are out there,” said Dr. Paul Keim, Director of TGen North, a Regents Professor of Biology at NAU and one of the test’s inventors. “Because it is a virus, it easily mutates and becomes resistant.”

David Engelthaler, Director of Programs and Operations for TGen North and another of the test’s inventors, said this flu detection and susceptibility test uses a molecular technique that rapidly makes exact copies of specific components of H1N1’s genetic material.

“Many people, including physicians, don’t realize that the pandemic swine flu strain from 2009 is still the most important flu strain out there. This assay is very effective with detecting and characterizing this dominant strain in the U.S. and around the world,” said Engelthaler, the former State Epidemiologist for Arizona, and former State of Arizona Biodefense Coordinator.

The third inventor of the test is TGen North Lab Manager Elizabeth Driebe.

Previously, only the U.S. Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC) and a few select labs could look for resistance, using time-intensive technology.

“This new test puts the power in the hands of the clinician to determine if their drugs will work or not. This is really important moving forward as we discover new strains that are resistant to antivirals,” Engelthaler said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified dozens of instances in which H1N1 was resistant to Tamiflu.

At most doctors’ offices, there is no readily available test for H1N1. Such tests generally are conducted by state and federal health agencies, and usually for those patients who require hospitalization and appear at high risk because they have a suppressed immune system or they have a chronic disease.

“Our test measures minute amounts of virus and minute changes to the virus. Not only does it detect when resistance is occurring, but it also detects it at the earliest onset possible,” Engelthaler said.

This new patent — No. US 8,808,993 B2, issued Aug. 19 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office — could be licensed for development of test kits or for development of a testing service.

Earlier this year, TGen-NAU celebrated its first joint patent for a genomics-based test that can identify most of the world’s fungal infections that threaten human health.

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.

About Northern Arizona University
Northern Arizona University has a student population of more than 25,000 with its main campus at the foot of the San Francisco Peaks in Flagstaff, Arizona.  NAU provides an outstanding undergraduate residential education strengthened by research, graduate and professional programs, and sophisticated methods of distance delivery and innovative new campuses and programs throughout the state.  NAU’s mission and goals are based on our core values, which includes placing learner needs at the center of our planning, policies, and programs; providing all qualified students with access to higher education; achieving multicultural understanding as a priority of educational and civic life; operating with fairness, honesty, and the highest ethical standards; and supporting a civil, engaging, and respectful campus climate.

Saks Fifth Avenue and Saturday Night Live Partner to Celebrate SNL’s 40th season, and the 16th Year of Key to the Cure

Cast members of Saturday Night Live, entering its 40th season this fall, are promoting the 16th year of Saks Fifth Avenue’s “Key to the Cure,” locally benefiting women’s cancer research at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).

During Key to the Cure‘s Oct. 16-19 charity-shopping weekend, Saks Fifth Avenue at Biltmore Fashion Park, 2446 E. Camelback Road, will donate 2 percent of sales to support breast and ovarian cancer research at TGen.

The highpoint of the Saks Phoenix fundraising shopping spree is the signature Key to the Cure fashion show, starting at 8:30 a.m. Oct. 17, featuring gourmet food, drinks, a raffle for designer items, and an exclusive peak at the latest fashions. For more information, please visit: www.tgenfoundation.org/events, or contact Andrea Kobielski at akobielski@tgen.org or 602-343-8572.

“We are honored to be Saks’ long-term partner for Key to the Cure, and excited about the visibility and awareness that Saturday Night Live’s past and current cast members bring to women’s cancers,” said Erin Massey, Vice President of Development for Cancer Programs for the TGen Foundation. “Locally, Key to the Cure highlights TGen’s patient-focused breast and ovarian cancer research initiatives and provides our scientists funding to pursue new and innovative research.”

Current Saturday Night Live cast members (Vanessa Bayer, Cecily Strong and Colin Jost) and past cast members (Will Ferrell and Ana Gasteyer) are this year’s Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) ambassadors for Saks Fifth Avenue’s 2014 Key to the Cure campaign.

The SNL cast members will appear in national public service announcements wearing a limited-edition unisex tee created by celebrated New York designers Marcus Wainwright and David Neville of rag & bone. The Key to the Cure PSA will appear in major fashion and lifestyle magazines in September and October.

The shirt will retail for $35 at Saks Fifth Avenue stores and online at saks.com and saksoff5th.com. All — 100 percent — of the proceeds from each shirt sold will be donated to TGen, benefiting charitable programs dedicated to finding new detection methods, better treatments and eventual cures for women’s cancers. The tee debuts Oct. 1 at Saks Fifth Avenue.

In the past 15 years since the inception of the Saks Fifth Avenue charity-shopping weekend, the retailer has raised more than $35 million for cancer research.

In addition to the partnership for the annual Key to the Cure campaign, Saks Fifth Avenue will sell exclusive merchandise inspired by notable Saturday Night Live characters from seven New York designers. These items, curated by Saturday Night Live’s Emmy-nominated costume designer Tom Broecker, will be available in Saks Fifth Avenue’s New York flagship store and on saks.com during the Key to the Cure shopping weekend.

The merchandise includes: Mango’s shorts as interpreted by Alexander Wang, The Nerds outfit as interpreted by Alice + Olivia, a dress fit for The Californians as interpreted by Diane von Furstenberg, Spartans Cheerleading uniforms as interpreted by Elizabeth and James, hats fit for The Coneheads as interpreted by Eugenia Kim, Mary Katherine Gallagher’s school uniform as interpreted by rag & bone, and Gilly’s dress as interpreted by Suno.

About Saks Fifth Avenue
Saks Fifth Avenue, one of the world’s pre-eminent specialty retailers, is renowned for its superlative American and international designer collections, its expertly edited assortment of handbags, shoes, jewelry, cosmetics and gifts, and the first-rate fashion expertise and exemplary client service of its Associates. As part of the Hudson’s Bay Company brand portfolio, Saks operates 39 full-line stores in 22 states, five international licensed stores, 73 Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH stores and saks.com, the company’s online store. Saks Fifth Avenue is proud to be named a J.D. Power and Associates 2012 Customer Service Champion and is only one of 50 U.S. companies so named.

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.

Riddell and TGen Team Up with Arizona State University’s Football Program to Further Genetic Research into Athlete Concussion Detection and Treatment

2014 Football Season Marks the Second Year of the Research Partnership

Study Using Sun Devils’ Head Impact Data and Genetic Information Could Help Improve Player Protection, Inform New Helmet Designs and Refine Smart Helmet Technology

 

PHOENIX, Ariz., ROSEMONT, Ill. and TEMPE, Ariz. — August 26, 2014 — Riddell, the leader in football helmet technology and innovation, and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), a leader in cutting-edge genomic research, today announced that the Pac-12’s Arizona State University and its Sun Devil football program will again participate in a genetic research study designed to advance athlete concussion detection and treatment.

Now in its second year, the joint research project will combine molecular information and head impact data from Sun Devil football student-athletes to identify whether the effects of sub-concussive hits are identifiable. The researchers will monitor the players’ changing molecular information throughout a season of typical head impact exposure associated with football practice and games. Representatives from the Sun Devil medical team and TGen will collect the molecular samples from the participating athletes, all of whom volunteered to partake in the study.

“This partnership represents another dynamic and innovative step toward ensuring that the health and well-being of our student-athletes remains our most important goal,” Vice President for Arizona State University Athletics Ray Anderson said. “Sun Devil Athletics continues to serve as a pioneering force in this important issue and is proud to participate in this world-class research study for the second consecutive year with two outstanding industry trendsetters in Riddell and TGen.”

Arizona State’s preferred helmet and protective equipment provider, Riddell, has again deployed its Sideline Response System (SRS) to obtain real-time head impact data from Arizona State football student-athletes. Riddell SRS provides researchers with a wide range of valuable information on the frequency and severity of head impacts a player receives during games and practices. Data gathered from the system will be combined with genetic information from players that experience concussion, with the objective of helping physicians diagnose concussion and better identify when a player might be expected to recover and return to the field.

“Player protection has become an essential part of football, and this cutting-edge partnership sets ASU apart from not only the rest of the conference, but every collegiate football program in the nation,” ASU Head Coach Todd Graham said. “We are not only looking out for our student-athletes while they are enrolled at ASU, but for the rest of their lives. You become a part of the brotherhood once you put on the maroon and gold, and that doesn’t end at graduation.”

Riddell will also utilize the player head impact data collected from the ASU and TGen research partnership to inform the development of new football helmets and further refine updates to smart helmet technologies like Riddell SRS and its recently launched Riddell InSite Impact Response System.

“We’re impressed by the enthusiasm exhibited by our partners, Arizona State University and TGen, as we enter the second season of our important research collaboration,” President of Riddell Dan Arment said. “They have matched our level of passion for football, and we are all committed to better protecting those that play the sport we love. We are left encouraged following the first year of our project and look forward to continuing on the path towards advancing concussion detection and treatment of athletes.”

The researchers at TGen are exploring whether the effects of sub-concussive hits are identifiable through blood-based molecular information. Their findings could prove pivotal to the game of football and other sports. Similar to last season, during this phase of the study the TGen faculty and staff are on the sidelines collecting samples and data. A baseline sample was collected from all participating players prior to their pre-season workouts. Since then, the researchers have followed the team through their daily workouts and will continue throughout the season.

Through the collection of samples over various points in time and the data generated by Riddell SRS, the goal is to identify the genomic changes in athletes exposed to routine head impacts during practice and games, athletes with diagnosed concussions that recover on both a routine time scale, and athletes with persistent symptoms following concussion that require additional treatment.

“As the mother of a young son who has played football, I’m keenly aware of the need to improve the current standards in place today for dealing with this issue,” said TGen Associate Professor Dr. Kendall Van Keuren-Jensen, whose technique for studying the collected samples drives this unique partnership. “As a researcher whose daily work looks for ways to determine the early warning signs of head injury, I get to see first hand how committed Arizona State University and Riddell are to student-athlete safety, and their determination to improve the game at all levels.”

Following the season long campaign, the researchers will gather post-season data and begin the analysis process with their colleagues at Barrow Neurological Institute and A.T. Still University. During this process, TGen will work closely with Barrow, whose B.R.A.I.N.S. (Barrow Resource for Acquired Injury to the Nervous System) program treats patients who have sustained a traumatic brain or spinal cord injury. The Barrow data will provide the researchers with additional concussion data and allow for comparison between data sets.

About Riddell
Founded in 1929, Riddell is a premier designer and developer of protective sports equipment and a recognized leader in helmet technology and innovation. One BRG Sports most well-known brands, Riddell is the leading manufacturer of football helmets, shoulder pads and reconditioning services (cleaning, repairing, repainting and recertifying existing equipment). For more information, visit our website at http://www.riddell.com, like the Riddell Facebook page, or follow Riddell on Twitter @RiddellSports.

About Arizona State University
Arizona State University is a New American University—a major public educational institution, a premier research center and a leader in innovation. Our vision is described by our three core principles: excellence in scholarship, access to education and impact in our global community. As a New American University, ASU is intellectually vibrant, socially conscious and globally engaged.

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 neurological disorders, cancer, 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 world-wide, TGen makes a substantial contribution to help our patients through efficiency and effectiveness of the translational process. For more information, visit: www.tgen.org.