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Ivy Foundation Grants $1.2 Million for Brain Cancer Study

The Ben & Catherine Ivy Foundation (Ivy Foundation) announced a gift of nearly $1.2 million to study brain tumor vaccines that combine a patient’s immune stimulators with tumor cultures from other patients.

The Ivy Foundation selected the study led by Allan B. Dietz, Ph.D., head of Mayo Clinic’s Human Cellular Therapy Laboratory, and Ian Parney, M.D. Ph.D., a neurosurgeon and immunobiologist, because of Dr. Dietz’s track record in brain cancer research, among other things.

“Mayo Clinic was selected as one of our brain cancer research partners because of the merit of the historical research done by Dr. Dietz and their ability to execute the project,” said Catherine Ivy, founder and president of the Ivy Foundation. “We believe this creative project will contribute important information to brain cancer research.”

The study will combine a patient’s optimized dendritic cells, known to be potent immune stimulators, with pooled and well-characterized cellular debris – known as lysates – from other patients’ brain tumor cultures to generate a tumor vaccine.

“We are combining this new approach with new methods for monitoring and tracking changes in the immune system,” said Dr. Dietz. “Together, we believe that this approach will allow us to identify and treat those patients most likely to benefit from this therapy.”

The Ivy Foundation has a research funding focus on glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most common and deadliest of malignant primary brain tumors in adults, and is the largest privately funded brain cancer research foundation in North America.

“We are extremely grateful for the Ivy Foundation’s support for our brain tumor vaccine clinical trial,” said Dr. Parney. “Their help has been crucial to bringing this promising new experimental treatment to patients diagnosed with glioblastoma. With their assistance, we hope to improve the outlook for patients with this highly aggressive brain cancer.”

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Ivy Foundation Grants Over $9M for Brain Cancer Research

The Ben & Catherine Ivy Foundation (Ivy Foundation) announced its 2012 grant recipients, which total more than $9 million in funding for brain cancer research. The Ivy Foundation is the largest privately funded brain cancer research foundation in North America. Catherine Ivy is the founder and president of the Ivy Foundation, which has a research funding focus on glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most common and deadliest of malignant primary brain tumors in adults.

The Ivy Foundation awarded the following grants and/or provided funding in 2012:

· $2,500,000 over three years:  Principal Investigator, Greg D. Foltz, M.D., Director, The Ben & Catherine Ivy Center for Advanced Brain Tumor Treatment, Swedish Medical Center
· $5,000,000 over five years:  Principal Investigators, John Carpten, Ph.D. and David Craig, Ph.D., Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) – a collaborative effort with University of California, San Francisco; University of California, Los Angeles; Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; Massachusetts General Hospital; Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center; MD Anderson; and University of Utah
· $45,000 annually: Principal Investigator, Brandy Wells, Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), for the Ivy Neurological Sciences Internship program
· Over $2 million paid out in 2012 for previously committed multi-year brain cancer research grants

“We are encouraged and remain strongly committed to moving the progress forward for patients diagnosed with brain cancer,” said Ivy. “The 2012 Ivy Foundation grant recipients are important strategic partners in our objective to double the life expectancy of people diagnosed with GBM within the next seven years.”

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Ivy Foundation Renews Support for TGen Program

The Arizona-based Ben & Catherine Ivy Foundation will fund a second year of the Ivy Neurological Science Internship Program at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).

The internship program offers hands-on biomedical research experience for high school, undergraduate and aspiring medical school students pursuing careers in brain tumor research, neuroscience and neurogenomics.

Through the program, world-class scientific investigators at TGen guide interns in the translational process of moving laboratory discoveries along the pipeline into new treatments for patients in clinical trials.

“Based upon the success of the 2012 pilot year, we believe the Ivy Neurological Science Internship Program at TGen will inspire a new generation of leaders in this field,” said Catherine Ivy, President of The Ben & Catherine Ivy Foundation. “There is an urgent and continuing need to encourage research into the intricate workings of brain cancer.”

TGen will select seven students for the program this year. Starting in June, two high-school students will participate in a 10-week summer program. Four undergraduate students will spend the fall semester at TGen, and one student planning to attend medical school will participate for a full academic year, beginning in the fall.

“Development of a local, knowledge-based workforce depends on educating and training talented students in the latest aspects of biomedical research and medicine,” said TGen President Dr. Jeffrey Trent. “The continued support from the Ivy program greatly enhances our efforts to provide hands-on experience in the area of translational research.”

In addition to brain tumor and neurological sciences research experience, Ivy interns will participate in a clinical training module that will engage them with the ultimate focus of these studies – the patient.

“TGen recognizes that we must invest in the development of the next generation of researchers and physicians; we need to prepare today’s students for the complex and challenging work awaiting them in the areas of brain tumor and neurological sciences research,” said Brandy Wells, Manager of TGen’s Education and Outreach.

For more information, please contact Brandy Wells at bwells@tgen.org or 602-343-8655.

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Nation’s Largest Brain Cancer Foundation Moves To Scottsdale

The largest privately funded national foundation focusing solely on brain cancer research has moved from the San Francisco Bay area (Palo Alto, Calif.) to Scottsdale. The Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation is dedicated to funding research that improves the survival and quality of life for people with brain cancer, which are known as gliomas. Since 2005, it has contributed more than $50 million to brain cancer research in the United States and Canada, with much more funding planned.

“There is a cluster of excellent research institutions located in Phoenix, such as TGen, Barrow Neurological Institute and St. Joseph’s Hospital, with growing potential to make critical strides in brain cancer research,” said Founder and Board President Catherine Ivy, of the Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation. “Funding these institutions and encouraging collaborations will enhance the funding we have done previously and move us closer to our goal: Doubling the survival rate of people diagnosed with gliomas within seven years from now.”

The Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation was created in 2005 after Ben Ivy was diagnosed with a glioblastoma (GBM) and passed away four months later. A broad variety of tumors can form in the brain causing evident symptoms and approximately 40 percent of these will be diagnosed as GBM, the most aggressive form of brain cancer. Several well-known people have lost their lives due to GBM, including Senator Ted Kennedy in 2009 and Wall Street billionaire and CEO of IMG Worldwide Ted Forstmann in 2011.

Catherine Ivy is a native of Phoenix, where she grew up before moving to Palo Alto, Calif., for several years.

For more information on the Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation, visit the Ivy Foundation’s website at ivyfoundation.org.