Golfers Against Cancer Raise Impressive Charitable Funds, Donate Funds to Four Groundbreaking Projects at M. D
Golfers Against Cancer Raise Impressive Charitable Funds, Donate Funds to Four Groundbreaking Projects at M. D. Anderson
M. D. Anderson News Release 03/06/02
Approaching the $1 million milestone, Golfers Against Cancer recently awarded $975,000 in philanthropic grants from the proceeds of their annual tournament to eight cancer research projects, including four initiatives at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.
This donation marks the fourth consecutive year the non-profit has supported projects at
M. D. Anderson. The gift of $225,000 will further research in leukemia and brain tumors as well as a treatment approach known as anti-angiogenesis.
Golfers Against Cancer, which launched its first charity tournament five years ago to honor members of the golf world whose lives had been touched by cancer, surpassed all previous years' fund-raising totals with its weekend-long golf and gala festivities - an endeavor that garnered $80,000 in its inaugural outing. Since the event began, almost $2.6 million has been contributed to cancer research, including $550,000 to M. D. Anderson programs.
"We couldn't be more pleased to help fund these vital efforts," explains Pat Weston, co-chairman of Golfers Against Cancer. "We've seen exciting progress made toward eliminating this dreaded disease, but we have a long way to go. This organization is committed to doing all it can to help speed that process."
Research to receive the Golfers' funding infusion at M. D. Anderson includes:
- Final development of a vaccine for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), which converts a protein produced by CLL genes into a new DNA agent that, when injected into the muscle, has shown promise in activating the immune system to create new immune cells and antibodies to kill the disease. Working in tandem with a research team in Great Britain, M. D. Anderson researchers expect to launch the first clinical trials with patients this month. ($100,000)
- Advanced preclinical study of the anti-angiogenic drug, Endostatin(tm), which has already proven in early clinical trials to be safe and reduce blood flow to tumors and will be evaluated in tandem with chemotherapy agents in animal models to determine if the combination further accelerates disruption of blood to the tumor and can regress tumors with a maximal effect. Golfers Against Cancer enters its third consecutive year of funding this anti-angiogenesis work. ($50,000)
- Continuing animal studies for the use of an adenovirus (Delta-24-RGD-4C) to treat brain cancer, which already has exhibited effectiveness in treating animal with brain tumors. This virus has been engineered to replicate and destroy tumor cells (glioma cells) without the ability to replicate in normal healthy cells. The adenovirus also has been genetically engineered to sustain itself in greater proportion to the number of cancer cells. The targeting of the virus has also been modified by the RGD component to seek out new tumor blood vessel markers to further enhance its ability to destroy brain tumors. ($50,000)
- Further fine-tuning of gene therapy in the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme to more directly reach the invading tumor cells of this most deadly form of brain cancer and kill them without injuring neighboring normal nerve cells. While these approaches are the goals for gene therapy research in any cancer, because brain tumor cells grow by intermingling with nerve cells, effective gene therapy is especially promising in eliminating brain cancers. ($25,000)
"Three things are needed for research to succeed," explains Dr. Frederick Lang Jr., associate professor of neurosurgery who is participating in both brain cancer research areas funded by the Golfers. "You need a plausible idea, inspired personnel and funding, which is quite often the greatest obstacle. We are grateful to Golfers Against Cancer for helping to complete the circle and enable so much promising work to come to fruition."
Other Golfers Against Cancer funding recipients this year were the Stehlin Foundation for Cancer Research; Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation; CaPCURE, the Association for the Cure of Cancer of the Prostate; and the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy.
Golfers Against Cancer was established in the summer of 1997 by members of Deerwood Club in Kingwood, Texas, in honor of several Deerwood Club members and staff who had been diagnosed with cancer at the time. The event has grown to hit the fairways at five courses in Kingwood and involve hundreds of participants and volunteers.
For more information on this year's event, Nov. 23-25, call (281) 367-7999.