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Leading Scientist in Neurofibromatosis-Related Cancer to be Featured in Carolyn Farb Endowed Lecture

Leading Scientist in Neurofibromatosis-Related Cancer to be Featured in Carolyn Farb Endowed Lecture
M. D. Anderson News Release 08/01/00

Hickey Auditorium, 11th floor Clark Clinic
M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
1515 Holcombe Blvd.
Noon - Thursday, Aug. 3, 2000

Dr. Luis F. Parada, director of The University of Texas Southwestern's Center for Developmental Biology, will discuss recent discoveries on how neurofibromatosis affects brain development, at the Eighth Annual Carolyn Farb Lecture in Neurofibromatosis.

Neurofibromatosis is a genetic disorder that affects approximately one in 3,500 persons. It is three times more common than muscular dystropy, Huntington's disease and cystic fibrosis combined. Neurofibromatosis involves the uncontrolled growth of tumors along the nervous system which can result in disfigurement, deformity, deafness, blindness, brain tumors, cancer and death. Neurofibromatosis is often mistaken for the "elephant man's" syndrome, another genetic disorder known as Proteus Syndrome. At the present time, there is no means of prevention, effective treatment or cure for neurofibromatosis.

Dr. Parada will explain how various genes interact to activate malignant tumor development in patients with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF-1). His research team developed a mouse model of the disease that affords a method to devise and test strategies to inhibit tumor growth in neurofibromatosis. Dr. Parada's talk is entitled, "What NF-1 Mouse Models Teach Us About the Brain."

The Carolyn Farb Endowed Lecture in Neurofibromatosiswas created in 1992 by the Texas Neurofibromatosis Foundation as a way to share research, expertise and experience and raise public awareness of the disease. M. D. Anderson has received $700,000 raised by Ms. Farb to help fund neurofibromatosis research and clinical programs. During the last eight years, seed money for these projects has produced results that enabled M. D. Anderson researchers additionally to secure more than $2 million in federal grants to further their innovative work.

M. D. Anderson has been caring for patients with neurofibromatosis since 1990 when doctor's established the first clinic dedicated to the disease in Texas. Working with approximately 300 children, adolescents and young adults, M. D. Anderson diagnoses and manages the many complications of neurofibromatosis while assisting patients with learning disabilities and other social issues. M. D. Anderson also has under way research in the social and neuropsychological aspects of the disease.


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