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Az Business honors healthcare leaders

Each year, Az Business magazine hosts the Healthcare Leadership Awards to honor the women, men and institutions that bring excellence and innovation to Arizona’s healthcare system. Here are the winners and finalists who were chosen by a panel of industry experts and were recognized at the 2014 Healthcare Leadership Awards on Thursday, April 10 at the Ritz Carlton in Phoenix. See photos from the event here or on our Facebook page.

BIOSCIENCE COMPANY
Winner: Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen)
TGen has made great strides in the field if genomics medicine. TGen researchers work to help physicians prescribe drugs that are designed more intelligently, work more effectively and have fewer toxic side effects. They have received numerous grants to support research into brain cancer and brain injuries, advanced cancers, Parkinson’s, rare childhood disorders, and more.

Finalists:
Barrow at PCH
Sonora Quest

COMMUNITY OUTREACH/EDUCATION
Winner: Barbara Kavanagh, Arizona Myeloma Network
Kavanagh’s mission is to change the lack of information and support resources for myeloma cancer by forming the Arizona Myeloma Network and the Living with Myeloma Conference, which has grown to 300 people. She also introduced the Pat and Bill Hite Cancer Caregivers Education and Support Program for caregivers to receive support and answers.

Finalists:
Catherine Ivy, Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation
Kathleen Goeppinger, Ph.D., Midwestern University

HEALTHCARE EXECUTIVE
Winner: Robert L. Meyer, Phoenix Children’s Hospital
Meyer is credited for the rapid and significant turnaround of Phoenix Children’s Hospital from the edge of financial failure to a successful $588 million expansion that made the hospital into one of the largest pediatric medical centers in the country. PCH is ranked in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Children’s Hospitals.

Finalists:
Tim Bricker, Chandler Regional and Mercy Gilbert
Mary Lee DeCoster, Maricopa Integrated Health System
Tony Marinello, CEO of Mountain Vista, IASIS Healthcare
Ed Myers, St. Luke’s Medical Center, IASIS Healthcare

HEALTHCARE ADVOCATE
Winner: Dr. John Chen, Maricopa Integrated Health System
Serving the community’s most vulnerable residents, Chen has helped thousands of patients within the Maricopa Integrated Health System. He sees patients who are in urgent need of treatment because of their lack of dental insurance or location in third world countries. He promotes dental care and hygiene to help prevent serious diseases.

Finalists:
Dr. Randal Christensen, Crews ‘n’ Healthcare
Gerri Hether, Orchard Medical Consulting

INSURANCE PROVIDER
Winner: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona
Marking its 75th anniversary in Arizona, BCBSAZ is committed to improving the quality of life for all Arizonans. The company focuses on providing the best value in health insurance as well as outside programs targeted to children and their families to help reduce childhood obesity.

Finalists:
Health Net of Arizona
UnitedHealthcare of Arizona

LEGAL ADVOCATE
Winner: Kristen Rosati, Polsinelli
As an attorney dedicated to the healthcare industry, especially to healthcare privacy, health information exchange and clinical research, Rosati has written 12 books, 30 articles and made 200 presentations on healthcare topics. She also helped establish two nonprofits in Arizona that support health information exchange and health information technology.

Finalists:
Richard Mallery, Snell and Wilmer
Martin L. Shultz, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck

MEDICAL CENTER OR HOSPITAL
Winner: Scottsdale Healthcare
As a nonprofit, Scottsdale Healthcare not only employs 6,500 staff members, but also is comprised of 1,400 volunteers who donate more than 155,000 hours of service each year. They are the largest employer in the City of Scottsdale and is known for its innovative medical technology, research and patient care.

Finalists:
Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center
Cancer Treatment Centers of America
St. Joseph’s Medical Center
St. Luke’s Medical Center

MEDICAL COMPANY OF THE YEAR
Winner: Ventana
Ventana is driving personalized healthcare through the development of “companion diagnostics” to identify patients most likely to respond favorably to specific therapies. Ventana has worked is currently engaged in more that 150 collaborative projects to develop and commercialize companion diagnostics globally.

Finalists:
Medtronic
W.L. Gore and Associates

MEDICAL RESEARCH COMPANY
Winner: Banner Alzheimer’s Institute
BAI has undergone a major prevention trial to evaluate a treatment in cognitively healthy older adults at the highest known genetic risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease at older ages. The study is part of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative API, an international collaboration led by BAI to accelerate the evaluation of promising but unproven prevention therapies.

Finalists:
Banner MD Anderson
University of Arizona Cancer Center

PHYSICIAN OF THE YEAR
Winner: Jimmy Chow, IASIS Healthcare
Chow improved the field of orthopedics by helping to design and teach a hybrid technique of a minimally invasive total hip replacement where the surgeon builds a new hip from inside the body. This surgery results in no post-operative limitations and many patients are discharged within 24 hours. Chow is one of 10 surgeons in the world to perform his surgery.

Finalists:
Karen Corallo Chaney, Magellan Health Services
David Notrica, Phoenix Children’s Hospital

RESEARCHER OF THE YEAR
Winner: Venkatesh G. Ramaiah, Arizona Heart Hospital
Ramaiah, the medical director and director of vascular and endovascular research, successfully created the “un balloon,” which is used to remodel thoracic endografts without the wind sock effect. This products was able to be marketed and sold.

Finalists:
David Jacofsky, CORE Institute
Glen Weiss, CTCA

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT
Linda Hunt, Dignity Health
Hunt, who has served as the leader of Dignity Health in Arizona since 2012, has taken a leadership role to advance healthcare and the biosciences for the people of Arizona. She has worked diligently with legislators, business leaders, educators, scientists and community organizations in order to identify, formulate, and support policies that will give Arizonans better healthcare and raise the bar of knowledge.


Click here to see all the photos.

alzheimers

Flinn Awards $2M to Banner Alzheimer’s Institute

Banner Alzheimer’s Foundation, the philanthropic resource for Phoenix-based Banner Alzheimer’s Institute (BAI), part of the nonprofit Banner Health, received $2 million in grant funding from the Flinn Foundation, a privately endowed, philanthropic grantmaking organization in Arizona.

Aligning with the Flinn Foundation’s mission to advance biosciences in the state, the grant is an investment in BAI’s groundbreaking Alzheimer’s prevention research. Specifically, the funds will support activities related to the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative. A global Alzheimer’s prevention research endeavor spearheaded by scientists and physicians at BAI, the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative has been described by the director of the National Institutes of Health as a “cornerstone in the national plan to address Alzheimer’s disease.”

“The Flinn Foundation is an invaluable part of the fabric of Arizona’s philanthropic community, investing in organizations and programs with a track record for advancing research, civic leadership, and arts and culture in our state,” noted Andy Kramer Petersen, president and CEO of Banner Alzheimer’s Foundation. “We are honored that they recognize the tremendous potential of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative and value the work being done at BAI.”

The $2 million grant to BAI is the latest in a decades-long philanthropic relationship between the Flinn Foundation and Banner Health. Prior funding supported an array of community outreach and pediatric health care programs, the most notable being Banner School-Based Health Centers, a program delivering primary health care services to children and adolescents throughout the greater Phoenix area who lack health insurance and access to regular care.

To learn more about BAI, the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative, and corresponding local and global research efforts, visit www.BannerAlz.org. For more information about giving opportunities, please call Banner Alzheimer’s Foundation at (602) 747-4483 (GIVE).

Medical Technology - AZ Business Magazine January/February 2012

Banner Alzheimer’s Foundation Honor Lavidges

Banner Alzheimer’s Institute (BAI), and its nonprofit Banner Alzheimer’s Foundation, will present its 2013 “Powerful Mind Award” to Bill and Julie Lavidge at its annual fete and fund-raiser, “A Night to Remember,” on Saturday, Oct. 19 at the Musical Instrument Museum.

Bill Lavidge is CEO of The Lavidge Company (TLC), a full-service advertising, public relations, communications, consulting and interactive marketing agency. Bill and Julie serve as Vice Chairs of The BAI Breakthrough Campaign Cabinet, a $40 million fund-raising initiative to help fund groundbreaking Alzheimer’s research and support BAI’s nationally recognized care model for patients and families made possible by philanthropic investments from individuals, corporations and foundations. The campaign was launched in 2011. In addition, Julie Lavidge serves on the Banner Alzheimer’s Foundation Board of Directors and is a founding member of Women Inspiring Scientific Progress (WISP), a Phoenix-based community group dedicated to advancing Alzheimer’s research through education and advocacy.

Each year, BAI recognizes outstanding contributions from member volunteers and honors them with the Powerful Mind Award. Last year’s recipient was Gene D’Adamo, vice president of community relations for Republic Media, which operates The Arizona Republic and 12 News.

“We are proud to be involved in such a great organization like Banner Alzheimer’s Institute and are humbled to receive the Powerful Mind Award,” said Bill Lavidge. “The pioneering research being done at BAI is truly groundbreaking and inspiring. We believe there are many deserving candidates for this award and we are grateful for the recognition.”

The Breakthrough Campaign is a collaboration between a team of renowned scientists and clinicians and an outstanding group of individuals, corporations and foundations dedicated to funding the breakthrough that could change lives for generations to come.

“Bill and Julie exemplify the spirit of selflessness and dedication necessary to foster great change and even greater outcomes,” remarked Andy Kramer-Petersen, president and CEO of Banner Alzheimer’s Foundation. “The way they have, for years, rallied around the cause, given of their time and talents, and engaged others in the mission to end Alzheimer’s is admirable and most certainly a powerful reminder of the impact we can all make.”

More information about The BAI Breakthrough and the work being done at BAI can be found at www.banneralz.org.

Through its research and care, Banner Alzheimer’s Institute is dedicated to the goal of ending Alzheimer’s disease without losing another generation. It is helping to launch a new era of Alzheimer’s research – treatment and prevention at the pre-symptomatic stage – and to establish a new comprehensive model of care. Established in 2006 by Banner Health, one of the country’s largest nonprofit health care systems, BAI has a three-fold focus: to conduct revolutionary studies in the detection, treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s; to set a national standard of patient and family care; and to forge scientific collaborations that bring together institutions and disciplines internationally.

alzheimers

NIH grants Banner Alzheimer’s Institute $33M

In collaboration with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Banner Alzheimer’s Institute (BAI) announces a major prevention trial to evaluate a treatment in cognitively healthy older adults at the highest known genetic risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease at older ages. An NIH grant, expected to total $33.2 million, will support this research.

The study is part of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative (API), an international collaboration led by BAI to accelerate the evaluation of promising but unproven prevention therapies. It will test an anti-amyloid treatment in about 650 adults, ages 60-75, who have two copies of the apolipoprotein E (APOE4) gene, the major genetic risk factor for late-onset Alzheimer’s. None of the participants will have impairments in memory or thinking at the time they enter the study.

“Once again, we are extremely grateful to the NIH for the opportunity to help accelerate the evaluation of treatments to prevent the clinical onset of Alzheimer’s and find ones that work as soon as possible,” said Dr. Eric M. Reiman, BAI Executive Director. “This trial will allow us to extend our work to individuals at greatest risk at older ages.”

The randomized, placebo-controlled trial, which will take place at BAI and other U.S. sites, will test the treatment’s ability to stave off the memory and thinking declines associated with Alzheimer’s. It will also assess the treatment’s effects on different brain imaging and cerebrospinal fluid measurements of the disease. The specific compound to be evaluated has not been decided.

The trial will test what is often called the amyloid hypothesis, which suggests that accumulation of the protein amyloid in the brain plays a key role in the disease’s progression.  Major funding from philanthropy and industry will also support the trial, and its leaders expect to provide data and biological samples to the research community after the trial’s conclusion to help in the scientific fight against Alzheimer’s.
Individuals in the study will learn their APOE4 status. To help them prepare for this information, BAI has convened an expert committee to develop a comprehensive genetic testing and disclosure plan and to assess the impact of this disclosure during the trial.
“Under the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease, our goal is to prevent and effectively treat the disorder by 2025,” said Dr. Neil Buckholtz, of the National Institute on Aging, which leads Alzheimer’s research at the National Institutes of Health.  “We are delighted to support Dr. Reiman, Dr. Tariot and their team in this innovative clinical trial aimed at preventing the onset and progression of this devastating disease.”

The research is intended to complement API’s initial trial, which is primarily focused in Colombia and involves about 300 people from an extended family with a rare genetic mutation that typically triggers Alzheimer’s symptoms around age 45. That work also is focusing on an anti-amyloid therapy and its potential in slowing or blocking the disease while preserving cognitive abilities. The investigation, including a smaller U.S. companion study, dovetails with prevention trials that have been planned or started by other research groups during the past 16 months.
“We are now looking at potential treatments to prevent both the early and late onset forms of the disease,” said Dr. Pierre N. Tariot, BAI Director. “This kind of comprehensive approach could prove the tipping point in our long, arduous effort to find a way to end this devastating disease.”

The new trial will draw participants mainly from the Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry (www.endALZnow.org), an online community of people who are committed to helping in the fight against Alzheimer’s. The Registry provides regular updates on the latest scientific advances, as well as information on overall brain health. To overcome one of the biggest obstacles to clinical research, the Registry supports enrollment in a variety of Alzheimer’s prevention studies within members’ communities.

Alzheimer’s is a debilitating and incurable disease that affects more than 5.2 million Americans, with a new diagnosis every 68 seconds. Without the discovery of successful prevention therapies, the number of U.S. cases is projected to nearly triple by 2050.

alzheimers

NIH grants Banner Alzheimer's Institute $33M

In collaboration with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Banner Alzheimer’s Institute (BAI) announces a major prevention trial to evaluate a treatment in cognitively healthy older adults at the highest known genetic risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease at older ages. An NIH grant, expected to total $33.2 million, will support this research.

The study is part of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative (API), an international collaboration led by BAI to accelerate the evaluation of promising but unproven prevention therapies. It will test an anti-amyloid treatment in about 650 adults, ages 60-75, who have two copies of the apolipoprotein E (APOE4) gene, the major genetic risk factor for late-onset Alzheimer’s. None of the participants will have impairments in memory or thinking at the time they enter the study.

“Once again, we are extremely grateful to the NIH for the opportunity to help accelerate the evaluation of treatments to prevent the clinical onset of Alzheimer’s and find ones that work as soon as possible,” said Dr. Eric M. Reiman, BAI Executive Director. “This trial will allow us to extend our work to individuals at greatest risk at older ages.”

The randomized, placebo-controlled trial, which will take place at BAI and other U.S. sites, will test the treatment’s ability to stave off the memory and thinking declines associated with Alzheimer’s. It will also assess the treatment’s effects on different brain imaging and cerebrospinal fluid measurements of the disease. The specific compound to be evaluated has not been decided.

The trial will test what is often called the amyloid hypothesis, which suggests that accumulation of the protein amyloid in the brain plays a key role in the disease’s progression.  Major funding from philanthropy and industry will also support the trial, and its leaders expect to provide data and biological samples to the research community after the trial’s conclusion to help in the scientific fight against Alzheimer’s.
Individuals in the study will learn their APOE4 status. To help them prepare for this information, BAI has convened an expert committee to develop a comprehensive genetic testing and disclosure plan and to assess the impact of this disclosure during the trial.
“Under the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease, our goal is to prevent and effectively treat the disorder by 2025,” said Dr. Neil Buckholtz, of the National Institute on Aging, which leads Alzheimer’s research at the National Institutes of Health.  “We are delighted to support Dr. Reiman, Dr. Tariot and their team in this innovative clinical trial aimed at preventing the onset and progression of this devastating disease.”

The research is intended to complement API’s initial trial, which is primarily focused in Colombia and involves about 300 people from an extended family with a rare genetic mutation that typically triggers Alzheimer’s symptoms around age 45. That work also is focusing on an anti-amyloid therapy and its potential in slowing or blocking the disease while preserving cognitive abilities. The investigation, including a smaller U.S. companion study, dovetails with prevention trials that have been planned or started by other research groups during the past 16 months.
“We are now looking at potential treatments to prevent both the early and late onset forms of the disease,” said Dr. Pierre N. Tariot, BAI Director. “This kind of comprehensive approach could prove the tipping point in our long, arduous effort to find a way to end this devastating disease.”

The new trial will draw participants mainly from the Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry (www.endALZnow.org), an online community of people who are committed to helping in the fight against Alzheimer’s. The Registry provides regular updates on the latest scientific advances, as well as information on overall brain health. To overcome one of the biggest obstacles to clinical research, the Registry supports enrollment in a variety of Alzheimer’s prevention studies within members’ communities.

Alzheimer’s is a debilitating and incurable disease that affects more than 5.2 million Americans, with a new diagnosis every 68 seconds. Without the discovery of successful prevention therapies, the number of U.S. cases is projected to nearly triple by 2050.

Health Insurance

AZ Isotopes bringing jobs to Goodyear

AZ Isotopes has selected the city of Goodyear as the site for a state-of-the-art facility which will improve the diagnosis and treatment of serious diseases. By producing several  medical isotopes that are either not currently available or difficult to obtain in Arizona, the Goodyear facility will support health care by giving physicians and their patients the most modern tools for diagnoses and treatments as well as research towards  improving medical outcomes.

Construction and operation of the facility also will result in high-quality jobs.  Initially, about 50 technical and managerial professionals will be employed.  As demand for the isotopes and the research program expands, additional high-quality positions will be added.  Substantial growth can be expected as industry analysts estimate the projected market for medical isotopes at about $6 billion by the year 2018.

Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord is highly supportive.  She stated: “We are excited to bring this new high-tech life sciences enterprise to Goodyear, along with highly skilled professionals and high-paying jobs.  Goodyear has everything companies like AZ Isotopes need to operate and grow their businesses.  We are growing and ready to help accommodate companies like AZ Isotopes to provide jobs and expand our work base.”

The Goodyear-based Western Regional Center for The Cancer Treatment Centers of America is also supporting the city’s efforts to help ensure that the new research and production facility is located nearby. It stated: “Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Western Regional Medical Center (Western) in Goodyear applauds the city’s economic development efforts in healthcare initiatives which lower the nation’s reliance on foreign products.”  Edgar D. Staren, MD, PhD, President and CEO of Western added, “We look forward to a readily available local isotope supply that could support our patient needs.”  Additionally, several major universities (including the University of Arizona) have already expressed interest in taking advantage of the facility’s research capabilities.

The Goodyear location will contain the full spectrum of operations necessary for providing the highest quality support for medical care and research.  Included will be manufacturing, engineering, administrative, sales and executive positions.  AZ Isotopes has assembled an internationally-renowned team of top scientists and physicians to begin site preparation and facility design and construction.

The site for the Goodyear plant is a 10-acre tract along Litchfield Road, north of Maricopa 85 and close to the Phoenix-Goodyear airport.  Because delivery time is critical to the users of medical isotopes, the facility’s proximity to the airport is very fortuitous. AZ Isotopes President and COO David Barshis stated, “Goodyear offers an ideal location for our planned operations, and local government has been extremely helpful in the process expected to provide a key competitive advantage over other isotope manufacturers.”

The heart of the facility is a unique, variable-energy medical cyclotron accelerator capable of producing medical diagnostic imaging and therapeutic isotopes which are not currently available, or have limited availability, from other commercial sources in the U.S.  This facility will join other local cyclotrons supporting various related types of medical treatments in the area. Locally, the Phoenix campus of Mayo Clinic has already announced plans to construct a facility to house a cyclotron designed specifically to be used for fixed-beam proton therapy at its new $130 million cancer center.  And the Phoenix-based Banner Alzheimer’s Institute is currently replacing its smaller cyclotron with a new unit for production of isotopes that enable detailed brain imaging.

87665813

Women to watch in healthcare, energy, aerospace and technology

Here are some of the the Arizona innnovators who Az Business magazine thinks will be making waves in healthcare, energy, aerospace and technology in 2013:

Ruth Carter
Owner, Carter Law Firm
carterlawaz.com
Her background: After graduating from ASU Law School in 2011, she opened her own law firm in January 2012 and focused her practice on social media law, intellectual property, business formation and contracts, and flash mob law. She will deliver a talk entitled “Protecting Your Copyrights in Digital Media” at the South By Southwest Interactive (SXSW) in March 2013. She also wrote the book “The Legal Side of Blogging: How Not to get Sued, Fired, Arrested, or Killed.”
Fun fact: She was selected as an American Bar Association Legal Rebel in September 2012.
Her goal for 2013: To help entrepreneurs, writers, and artists turn their ideas into reality, to help them push the limits of what’s possible without crossing the line.

Michelle De Blasi
Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig
gtlaw.com
Her background: De Blasi focuses her practice on environmental law, with an emphasis on natural resources matters. She advises local and multi-national clients on energy and environmental sustainability, including the development of traditional and renewable energy power plants, climate change, and greenhouse gas emissions. She is a leader in many community organizations, including serving as the Co-Chair of the Arizona Energy Consortium, which has recently released the Arizona Energy Roadmap to further develop the state’s energy industry.
Fun fact: “I wanted to be an environmental attorney since junior high.  Working for six years at NOAA starting in law school was an amazing way to begin my career.”
Her goal for 2013: “Continue to assist my clients’ growth and expansion, including improving the regulatory and business atmosphere in the areas where they are located.”

MaryAnn Guerra
CEO, BioAccel
bioaccel.org
Her background: BioAccel was named the most promising initiative among the six winners of SSTI’s 2012 Excellence in TBED (technology-based economic development) awards. In three years, BioAccel — whose mission is to transform high-risk technologies into new businesses and high-wage jobs — has supported 11 companies in Arizona, investing more than $4 million directly as well as helping get an additional $15.5 million in downstream funding.
Fun fact: “I love camping outdoors in tents. After gathering wood from the forest, I  build the campfire, cook, then relax under the moonlight — with wine if possible.”
Her goal for 2013: “Personally: spend more time with my husband.  Professionally: expand BioAccel’s overall capacity, validate BioInspire as a model and help launch the BioAccel Accelerator Fund.”

Chevy Humphrey
President and CEO, Arizona Science Center
azscience.org
Her background: She oversees the $8 million operation of Arizona Science Center’s 185,000-square-foot facilities with more than 400 employees and volunteers. She is in line to become the next president of the Association of Science-Technology Centers, an international organization representing science centers and museums with more than 600 members in over 40 countries worldwide. She currently serves as its secretary-treasurer.
Fun fact: Humphrey secured the largest gift in the Center’s history – $3.5 million.
Her goal for 2013: “Maintain excellence as Arizona’s largest provider of informal science education while providing educators with professional development and resources supporting the new common core education standards.”

Mary Juetten
Founder and CEO, Traklight.com
traklight.com
Her background: While earning her JD at ASU, Juetten combined her new knowledge of the law with accounting designations and 25 years of management, business and financial consulting experience to create Traklight.com in 2010.  Traklight is an online software as service company that offers products for inventors, creators, start-up or small companies to identify, secure, and manage their intellectual property to reduce the risk of infringement and IP loss, all without any prior knowledge of IP.
Fun fact: She played ice hockey in Canada and Phoenix.
Her goal for 2013: “I plan to spend more time outside with my husband: golfing and hiking.  Traklight will build upon our October launch and expand nationally in 2013.”

Kim Kundert
Vice president of clinical operations
Clinical Research Advantage
Her background: Kundert received the 2012 Silver Stevie Award — which honors the world’s bets and brightest female entrepreneurs and executives — for Female Executive of the Year in the Business Services category. Kundert has been a driving force behind the rapid growth of CRA, a clinical trial management organization that has helped trial sponsors bring drugs to market more quickly and efficiently.
Fun fact: She was born in Germany on Christmas Day.
Her goal for 2013: “My goal is to open 20 new clinical trial sites.”

Jessica Langbaum
Principal scientist, Banner Alzheimer’s Institute
banneralz.org
Her background: Langbaum is actively involved in research activities focusing on the use of brain imaging for studying the earliest evidence of Alzheimer’s and on the design and execution of preclinical Alzheimer’s treatment trials. Langbaum has published papers in leading scientific journals on cognitive training, brain imaging and Alzheimer’s disease.
Fun fact: Her family has been in Arizona for generations.
Her goal for 2013: “Enroll 100,000 people in our Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry (endALZnow.org/registry), launch the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative (API)/Genentech trial, prepare for the next API-led trial, and potty train my son.”

Paula O’Neal Wichterman
Vice president, medical private banker, National Bank of Arizona
nbarizona.com
Her background: Wichterman is vice president in the Private Bank of National Bank of Arizona. Prior to joining NB|AZ, she spent 9 years in various advisor roles at two other lending institutions in both private banking and credit administration. In her role at NB|AZ, Wichterman is responsible for increasing NB|AZ’s focus on the physician and medical banking market.
Fun fact: “Being the Southern girl that I am, I LOVE to shoot sporting clays. It is a great stress reliever after a long week at work.”
Her goal for 2013: “I want to always inspire my family and friends. I try my best to lead by example. Whether it is at home or at work, I want to be the best that I can be.”

Angela Perez
Partner, Snell & Wilmer
swlaw.com
Her background: Perez is an Arizona native who holds a biology degree from Harvard University and law degree from The University of Arizona. She practices law in the field of business and finance, with special attention to representing clients in the biotechnology industry. Perez represents companies at all stages of their life cycle, from start-up to liquidity. Perez is committed to using her education and experience to improve the strength of Arizona’s economy by facilitating the growth of Arizona’s biotech industry.
Fun fact: Formed Snell & Wilmer’s Bioscience and Healthcare Industry Group shortly after graduating from law school.
Her goal for 2013: “Contribute to the success of my firm and clients by providing sound legal advice; support Arizona’s biotech industry; and shower my young family with love.”

Darcy Renfro
Vice president and coordinator of the Arizona STEM Network, Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz)
sfaz.org
Her background: Renfro is leading the way for Arizona’s STEM — science, technology, engineering, math — education initiatives. She spearheaded the development of SFAz’s Arizona STEM Network, a first-of-its-kind strategic effort to help transform Arizona’s educational system. The Network will help teachers and students prepare for the state-adopted, internationally benchmarked Common Core Standards, higher-education and careers that will help ensure our state remains globally competitive.
Fun fact: Arizona is just one of 16 states in the U.S. with developing or existing STEM Networks.
Her goal for 2013: “Increase the access and quality of STEM opportunities for Arizona’s students and teachers to inspire excitement and achievement in math and science.”

Virginia Rybski
President and CEO, Regenesis Biomedical, Inc.
regenesisbio.com
Her background: Rybski has combined 35 years of experience founding, building and growing emerging bioscience companies by developing and launching numerous advanced-technology, healthcare related products. She strategically positioned the company as a regenerative medicine business; raised $5.3 million in capital; has grows sales for 8 consecutive years; and helped it earn a position on the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America in 2012.
Fun fact:
Her goal for 2013: “Focus on improving patient care, and helping to provide better patient outcomes while lowering the overall cost of care. Healthcare, now more than ever, needs collaboration between providers, patients, and manufacturers like Regenesis, to help rein in spiraling costs.”

Joyce Schroeder
Chief science officer, Arizona Cancer Therapeutics
arizonacancertherapeutics.com
Her background: Schroeder, program co-leader in Cancer Biology and Genetics at the Arizona Cancer Center, is moving toward clinical trials for breast cancer treatment that inhibits metastatic breast cancer growth at cellular level and it is non-toxic. In layman’s terms, this could block breast cancer growth without the toxic side effects of chemotherapy. She is also associate professor of molecular and cellular biology at the University of Arizona.
Fun fact: She is an avid Stephen King reader and loves Star Wars.
Her goal for 2013: “My goal for 2013 is to get our breast cancer drug approved by the FDA to be given to patients.”

Lori Singleton
Manager of Sustainability Initiatives and Technologies, SRP
srpnet.com
Her background: Singleton’s primary focus at SRP is environmental and renewable energy issues. Under her direction, SRP has provided incentives to more than 12,000 customers who have installed solar energy systems on their homes and businesses. In addition, she is an active volunteer and effective advocate serving on the boards of Audubon of Arizona and the National Solar Energy Power Association.
Fun fact: “Ballroom dancing is my passion. For me, it not only helps keep me physically fit but allows me to focus on something other than looming deadlines and work projects.”
Her goal for 2013: “As a Valley Forward board member, I will work to promote environmental quality statewide, elevate our state’s image and drive balanced policy as the organization evolves into Arizona Forward.”

Joy Seitz
Vice president of business and policy development, American Solar
americanpv.com
Her background: Since joining Scottsdale-based American Solar in 2009, Seitz has been a leading advocate for Arizona’s solar industry, making her presence felt everywhere that decisions are made about solar energy — city halls, Salt River Project and the Arizona Corporation Commission. Her company has designed and installed solar electric for more than 3,500 customers and created partnership with homebuilders including Shea Homes and AV Homes.
Fun fact: “I am a proud ASU West Campus graduate from the School of Global Management and Leadership, with an emphasis in finance.”
Her goal for 2013: “To put the power of solar energy into the hand of every homeowner. It is time that every Arizona homeowner understands that they can control what energy powers their home.”

Lois Wardell
Principal, Arapahoe SciTech
arapahost.com
Her background: Wardell’s technology focus includes unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and associated sensor technologies.  By developing partnerships with other innovators, she has been able to tackle technical challenges in emerging fields such as those in polar science. One example is a sterilization system for an ice drill that will access an Antarctic sub-glacial lake below a half-mile of ice to explore this unknown frontier on our planet.
Fun fact: Wardell has worked on all seven continents.
Her goal for 2013: “My goals include continued development of technology for exploration (both Earth and beyond) and to increase my focus on outreach activities to inspire students.”

pharmaceuticals

Arizona bioscience job growth outpaces nation

Arizona’s bioscience sector added jobs at nearly four times the national rate over the past decade and experienced double-digit job growth during the economic recovery, a new report shows.

Since Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap was launched in 2002, Arizona’s bioscience jobs have increased by 45 percent to 99,018 in 2011. Nationally, the growth rate during this time was 12 percent. While hospitals dominate Arizona’s bioscience jobs, the state’s non-hospital subsectors grew 14 percent in 2011 alone.  During the economic recovery years of 2009-11, the state’s bioscience jobs increased 11 percent while there was no gain across the state’s private sector.

The new performance analysis of Arizona’s bioscience sector, commissioned by the Flinn Foundation, also found that the number of bioscience establishments in Arizona continues to grow faster than the national average and bioscience wages in the state are outpacing those in other private-sector industries.

The 10th-annual study, released Feb. 5 by the Battelle Technology Partnership Practice, did reveal funding challenges for the state.  In 2012, Arizona fell to its lowest venture capital investment level since 2009 and suffered a drop in National Institutes of Health funding while the top-10 funded states advanced.

“Arizona’s bioscience sector continues to significantly outperform the nation in terms of job and establishment growth and has made impressive gains in building a more concentrated industry base,” said Walter Plosila, senior advisor to the Battelle Technology Partnership Practice.  “However, more attention must be paid to academic research performance and venture capital investment to continue the trend in years to come.”

Plosila added that progress has been made over the past decade on all 19 actions recommended by Battelle in 2002, including substantial progress on nine.

The Roadmap was launched in 2002 as a long-range plan to make the state’s bioscience sector globally competitive. The Roadmap was commissioned by the Phoenix-based Flinn Foundation, which committed to 10 years of major funding of Arizona biosciences and formed a network of committees involving statewide experts to implement its recommendations.

There was also a major increase in bioscience establishments, rising 31 percent since 2002 to 892 firms, which is above the national growth rate of 23 percent.

Bioscience jobs in Arizona pay an average salary of $56,328, or 28 percent higher than the $44,098 for all private-sector industries. Since 2002, bioscience salaries have increased 44 percent.

“After 10 years, Arizona has carved a niche in the highly lucrative and competitive biosciences field,” said Martin Shultz, chair of Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap Steering Committee. “We’re one of the nation’s top emerging bioscience states, and our growth in high-wage jobs continued during both good economic times and bad.”

In terms of research dollars, NIH funding in 2012 was $174 million, or 19 percent greater, than the 2002 figure. This is a decrease from $184 million in 2011. While NIH funding, the gold standard for biomedical research funding, did increase slightly faster than the national average of 18 percent over the past decade, Arizona is no longer meeting its goal of obtaining funding at a growth rate higher than the top-10 funded states. In addition, its share of the funding pool remains nearly the same as it was in 2002.

The latest data also shows:
•    The largest non-hospital bioscience subsector continues to be research, testing and medical laboratories. This group now boasts about 8,900 workers across 466 establishments, roughly a 60 percent increase in both employees and firms since 2002. The other subsectors are drugs, pharmaceuticals and diagnostics; hospitals; medical devices and equipment; and agricultural feedstock and chemicals.
•    Venture capital investment was $22 million in 2012, which is the lowest figure since 2009. This was a drop of 68 percent from 2011, compared with a national decline of 49 percent.
•    Bioscience-related academic research and development expenditures at Arizona’s universities reached a record $452 million in 2011, a 55 percent increase since 2002. Arizona’s growth had outpaced the nation until 2009, but now trails the overall U.S. growth rate of 74 percent.
•    Arizona universities spun out seven bioscience companies in 2012. University discoveries have now led to 67 new bioscience startups since 2002 as well as 180 bioscience patents.

There were a number of major developments in 2012 that showed the collaborative nature of Arizona biosciences, including the completion of major projects, the approval of future pursuits, and an emphasis on education.

The University of Arizona opened its new Health Sciences Education Building on the Phoenix Biomedical Campus that enabled the UA College of Medicine-Phoenix to increase enrollment and for Northern Arizona University to begin Phoenix-based physician assistant and physical therapy programs. In addition, final approval was granted by the Arizona Board of Regents for the UA Cancer Center-Phoenix to be built on the same campus in partnership with St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center.

A number of incubators and accelerators opened or expanded with more in the planning stages. BioInspire, an incubator for medical-device startups, opened in Peoria; GateWay Community College in Phoenix opened the Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation; the Arizona Center for Innovation at the UA Science and Technology Park in Tucson opened upgraded facilities and launched new programming; Flagstaff received funding for a planned accelerator; and the statewide Arizona Furnace accelerator began awarding seed money and access to incubation space.

Among other major developments, the inaugural Arizona SciTech Festival attracted 200,000 participants from across the state during February and March 2012, making it one of the largest in the nation; Banner Alzheimer’s Institute launched a $100 million trial to prevent or delay Alzheimer’s disease; a new skin-cancer drug first tested by Translational Genomics Research Institute and Scottsdale Healthcare received expedited approval from the Food and Drug Administration; Arizona State University began leading the first national algae biofuel testbed; Mayo Clinic announced plans for a new cancer center on its north Phoenix campus; and Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center in Gilbert announced a $63 million expansion.

On Dec. 4, 2012, the Flinn Foundation and bioscience leaders from across Arizona came together at the Arizona Biltmore to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the launching of Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap. The Foundation announced it has committed to continue funding Arizona biosciences and coordinating the Roadmap as it enters its next chapter.

“We recognize this is a long-term pursuit,” said Jack Jewett, president and CEO of the Flinn Foundation. “We will continue to strive to improve the lives of Arizonans today and tomorrow through new medical discoveries, access to clinical trials and the recruitment of top researchers, while also attracting high-wage jobs that will strengthen Arizona’s economy.”

The Flinn Foundation is a Phoenix-based, private, nonprofit philanthropic endowment. It was established by Dr. and Mrs. Robert S. Flinn in 1965 with the mission of improving the quality of life in Arizona to benefit future generations. The nonprofit philanthropy supports the advancement of Arizona’s bioscience sector, the Flinn Scholars program, arts and culture, and the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership.

banner alzheimers foundation - brain research

Banner Alzheimer’s Institute to open $16.3M Imaging Center

The opening of a $16.3 million state-of-the-art Imaging Center further cements the internationally-recognized work occurring at Banner Alzheimer’s Institute (BAI) and advances statewide collaboration in Alzheimer’s disease and other neuroscientific, cardiology and oncology research.

The Imaging Center, located at BAI’s campus in Phoenix, was made possible by $9.2 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health and $7.1 million in philanthropic support from individuals, corporations and foundations. The center, which opens later this spring, will provide a shared scientific resource for researchers throughout the state and it will complement the scientific strengths of its partnering institutions.

The 18,000-square-foot facility features state-of-the-art imaging equipment including positron emission tomography (PET), CT and MRI technology. In addition, a cy*clotron and radiochemistry lab will allow the production of radiotracers to support PET studies across Arizona in the areas of neurology, oncology and cardiology. Radiotracers are used by PET researchers to study a range of biochemical and physiological processes in the brain and body.  In addition, BAI’s computational analysis laboratory will continue to develop, test, and use software to analyze PET and MRI images with unprecedented power.

“We are grateful to the National Institutes of Health, and extraordinary charitable contributions facilitated by Banner Alzheimer’s Foundation for the state-of-the-art imaging resources needed to make potentially transformational differences in the scientific fight against Alzheimer’s disease, advance cancer research, unravel mysteries of the human mind and brain and support important biomedical research collaborations throughout the state,” said Dr. Eric Reiman, CEO of Banner Research, BAI executive director, and director of the Arizona Alzheimer’s Consortium.

The new Imaging Center will help BAI researchers in the effort to find treatments to ending Alzheimer’s before it impacts another generation. It will also add to the arsenal of research tools used by researchers in the Arizona Alzheimer’s Consortium, a leading model of statewide collaboration in biomedical research.

“Members of Arizona Alzheimer’s Consortium played a huge role in our effort to secure funding for the Imaging Center and will continue to be key participants in our imaging research,” added Reiman.

The Arizona Alzheimer’s Consortium includes Arizona State University, Barrow Neurological Institute, Mayo Clinic Arizona, Banner Sun Health Research Institute, Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), University of Arizona and Banner Alzheimer’s Institute.

In addition to the new Imaging Center, Dr. Reiman, Dr. Pierre Tariot, and their colleagues have developed the international Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative (API) to find effective treatments to prevent Alzheimer’s disease as quickly as possible. With its first prevention trial launching later this year, API will begin to evaluate the most promising therapies and do so as quickly as possible. The API is intended to evaluate promising prevention therapies in individuals at the highest genetic risk for Alzheimer’s disease, help set the stage for the field to rapidly evaluate the range of promising therapies and find ones that work as quickly as possible.

A key component of API is its national Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry. People who are passionate about combatting the disease are encouraged to sign-up at https://registry.endalznow.org/. They will receive regular updates about the latest advances in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease, the promotion of brain health, and opportunities to participate in prevention studies.

prevention trial - brain scan images

Alzheimer’s Prevention Trial Announced

In collaboration with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Banner Alzheimer’s Institute (BAI), University of Antioquia in Colombia and Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, announce the first-ever prevention trial in cognitively healthy individuals who are destined to develop Alzheimer’s disease because of their genetic history. This groundbreaking study—the first to investigate whether an anti-amyloid treatment can stave off the disease—will span two countries and help launch a new era of prevention research in the urgent fight against Alzheimer’s.

The $100 million trial is the cornerstone of a new international collaborative, the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative (API), formed to accelerate the evaluation of promising but unproven prevention therapies. It will study an experimental anti-amyloid antibody treatment called crenezumab in approximately 300 people from an extraordinarily large extended family in Colombia, who share a rare genetic mutation that typically triggers Alzheimer’s symptoms around age 45. The trial will also include a smaller number of individuals in the United States. The API team will collaborate with researchers from the NIH-supported Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer’s Network (DIAN) to identify and recruit the U.S. participants.

The trial is designed to determine whether the drug can reduce participants’ chances of developing the disease’s disabling and irreversible symptoms, preserve memory and thinking abilities, and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s biomarkers.

Drs. Eric M. Reiman and Pierre N. Tariot from the Phoenix-based BAI lead the broader initiative, and they also will be leading the trial in close cooperation with Genentech’s research and clinical team and a Colombian team headed by Dr. Francisco Lopera of Grupo de Neurociencias de Antioquia at the University of Antioquia. Together, these three groups designed the study with input from other prominent scientists and NIH and regulatory officials.

If crenezumab is shown to sustain memory and cognition in people certain to develop Alzheimer’s, prevention trials could be designed to test it and other anti-amyloid drugs in a larger segment of the population. If the treatment’s effects on brain imaging and other biological measurements of the disease are shown to predict its clinical benefit, the study could establish a much more rapid way to test future therapies.

“We are grateful for the chance to evaluate such a promising prevention treatment,” said Dr. Reiman, BAI Executive Director. “We have tried to design the study in a way that might bring the field closer to ending Alzheimer’s before another generation is lost.”

The study will be supported with five-year NIH funding expected to total $16 million, as well as a BAI commitment of $15 million in philanthropic funds. Genentech will contribute the major share of funding, in addition to providing study drug and clinical and operational expertise integral to the design and conduct of the study. Given the importance of the trial, data and findings will be shared publicly after its completion to help the entire Alzheimer’s research community find faster ways to test promising prevention therapies.

“Genentech is very excited to be a part of this landmark effort,” said Richard H. Scheller, PhD, Executive Vice President, Research and Early Development at Genentech. “If the study demonstrates that we can prevent the disease in this special group of patients, it may pave the way to preventing Alzheimer’s in the general population.”

About 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s today, a number expected to top 7.7 million by 2030. Globally, the disease and other dementias are expected to affect nearly 66 million by then.

The study represents a marked shift in researchers’ approach to detecting, treating and ultimately preventing Alzheimer’s. Many in the clinical and scientific community believe that by the time memory begins to slip and confusion and other thinking problems emerge, too much damage may already have occurred for some treatments, such as those focusing on amyloid, to be effective. They suspect that these potential therapies must instead be started before the onset of symptoms.

BAI researchers already have shown how advanced brain imaging, biomarkers and other measurements can identify and track subtle Alzheimer’s-associated changes in healthy people at genetic risk for the disease many years before its first clinical signs appear. They proposed using these tools in a prevention trial that would not require a lengthy wait for those symptoms.

The new study will test what is often called the amyloid hypothesis, which suggests that accumulation of the protein amyloid in the brain plays a key role in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

Preclinical studies indicate that crenezumab, an antibody therapy that Genentech is developing in collaboration with Swiss biotech company AC Immune SA, works by binding to amyloid proteins and clearing them from the brain. It has been studied in both healthy individuals and people with Alzheimer’s and currently is being evaluated in a Phase II clinical study in patients with mild to moderate symptoms. No significant safety issues have been detected to date. The drug was selected for this prevention trial with guidance from an expert advisory panel.

“The trial represents big hope for the people here,” Dr. Lopera said from Medellín, where he has followed generations of the families since the early 1980s. “For those with the genetic mutation, it is a chance to modify their destiny. For those who are not carriers, it is a chance to save loved ones. They all want a far different future.”

Among the Colombian as well as U.S. participants, crenezumab will be administered to individuals 30 and older with normal cognitive function. Participants in the double-blind, placebo-controlled trial will receive an injection of crenezumab or placebo at set intervals for up to five years. Researchers will use advanced imaging techniques, cerebrospinal fluid tests and sensitive cognitive measures to monitor whether the accumulation of amyloid and other tell-tale proteins in the brain is reduced, whether brain size and function is maintained, and, most importantly, whether mental performance is preserved.

To avoid signaling the genetic status of participants, most of whom do not want to know if they have the   mutation, the study will include relatives who are non-carriers and will receive the placebo.

“We are cognizant of the responsibility that we face, not just to the scientific community but to the families who will be involved in our work,” said Dr. Tariot, BAI Director. “Yet the possibilities ahead are tremendous. If this approach to fighting Alzheimer’s is successful, it has the potential to transform all future prevention and treatment research and to herald the beginning of the end of this devastating disease.”

For more information on the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative, visit Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative’s website at endalznow.org.

Health Care Leadership Awards 2011

HCLA 2011 – Researcher

Honoree: Eric Reiman, M.D., Executive Director, Banner Alzheimer’s Institute

Eric Reiman, M.D., Executive Director, Banner Alzheimer's InstituteDr. Eric Reiman’s goal as a researcher is to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease before another generation is lost. In order to achieve this goal, Reiman conducts research utilizing brain imaging, genomics, early detection and tracking of Alzheimer’s disease, disease-slowing therapies and prevention therapies.

He serves as executive director of Banner Alzheimer’s Institute, clinical director of the Neurogenomics Division at the Translational Genomics Research Institute, professor and associate head of psychiatry at the University of Arizona and director of the Arizona Alzheimer’s Consortium.

In using brain-imaging technology, Reiman and his team are characterizing regions of the brain that are used for different aspects of emotion, memory, pain, hunger and satiation, and those that work together to create anxiety disorders. For years, Reiman and his team also have used brain-imaging techniques to detect and record brain changes in cognitively normal carriers and non-carriers of a common Alzheimer’s susceptibility gene. In 2007, Reiman and his colleagues published the first genome-wide association studies of Alzheimer’s disease and normal human memory.

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David Adelson, M.D., FACS, FAAP, Medical Director, Children's Neuroscience, Phoenix Children's HospitalFinalist: David Adelson, M.D., FACS, FAAP, Medical Director, Children’s Neuroscience, Phoenix Children’s Hospital

Dr. David Adelson has devoted much of his career to researching avenues that might improve the lives of people around the world, especially children. He founded the Children’s Neuroscience Institute at Phoenix Children’s Hospital (PCH) and currently serves as its director. He also holds the position of division chief of neurosurgery at PCH. In the time he has off from his practice, Adelson is currently involved with eight separate research projects.

Included in those research projects is a multi-centered clinical trial with the Cool Kids Trial that is studying whether moderate hypothermia treatment can improve the outcomes of children who have experienced traumatic brain injury.

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