Tag Archives: University of Utah

brain

TGen-Ivy Foundation brain cancer trial approved

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.

prevention trial - brain scan images

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.”

Texting while driving

Texting While Driving: A Growing Hazard

“Drive Hammered, Get Nailed,” and “Click It or Ticket” are Arizona initiatives that aim to advise drivers of the rules of the road, yet there is currently no campaign in place regulating texting while driving. Texting while driving is such a growing hazard that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have categorized it as “distracted driving.” However, Arizona has very loose laws preventing texting while driving. Although texting while driving is illegal in Phoenix’s city limits, it isn’t illegal statewide.

Texting while driving is a lethal combination because it involves three different distractions: visual, manual and cognitive, according to the CDC. These distractions interfere with the amount of brain activity necessary to operate a vehicle by reducing a driver’s reaction time, depth perception and cognitive awareness of the road conditions and the surrounding environment.

Ironically, these are the exact same functions that are impaired by alcohol. Distraction from cell phone use while driving — handheld or hands-free — extends a driver’s reaction as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent, according to a study conducted at the University of Utah. A driver’s reaction rate is one of the most important factors in motor vehicle collisions and may make the difference between life and death. It takes two seconds for your brain to react to the situation and tell your body to make a braking movement; therefore, any distraction resulting in a delay of reaction time makes you a danger on the roadway.

National statistics illustrate that driving while distracted is a factor in more than 25 percent of police-reported crashes. Texting while driving does not just cause automobile accidents, it also puts pedestrians, road cyclists, motorcyclists and others in severe danger.

There are many simple precautions that drivers can take in order to protect themselves and others from a vehicle collision.

First and foremost, keep your cell phone in a location that is out of your reach and out of sight; this will reduce the temptation to check your phone while behind the wheel … even at a red light! Individuals who use a cell phone while driving are four times more likely to get into crashes that are serious enough to injure themselves, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Parents of teenage drivers must set a good example and not use a phone while driving. Teenagers are the highest at-risk group of being affected by the dangers of texting while driving as they are inexperienced on the road and may have more distractions. The CDC statistics exemplify that younger, inexperienced drivers have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes, prompting many states to ban drivers younger than 18 years old from using their cell phone while driving.

The statistics regarding the dangers of texting while driving are eye-opening and should empower Arizonans to think before they pick up their phones while behind the wheel.

For more information about auto accidents, pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents or
motorcycle accidents that occur from texting while driving, please contact Friedl Richardson Trial Lawyers in Phoenix at (602) 553-2220 or visit azrichlaw.com.