There’s no known cure for glioblastoma multiforme, the most aggressive form of brain cancer. And with inadequate research funding, low survival rates have shown little improvement.
When the late James Broach and his wife, Jamie, established the Houston-based Broach Foundation for Brain Cancer Research in 2011, they determined to change this sad scenario. They used humor to pack a powerful punch in their fight against the disease, raising awareness and funds through a comedy-themed gala, Stand-Up for Brain Cancer.
Though James succumbed to the disease in 2013 at age 37, the foundation continues to raise funds to support brain tumor research at MD Anderson, recently making a $5 million commitment.
“Philanthropy drives innovative research, which in turn drives the process of discovering new treatments and delivering them to the patient,” says James’s neurosurgeon, Frederick Lang, M.D., professor and director of clinical research in Neurosurgery. “Thanks to the Broach Foundation’s generous support, we have promising clinical trials underway that mean hope for patients and their friends and loved ones coping with the effects of this deadly disease.”
The Broach Foundation directed its first grant in 2012 toward research led by Lang, whose clinical trials focus on a viral smart bomb developed at MD Anderson by Juan Fueyo, M.D., professor in Neuro-Oncology – Research. Delta-24-RGD, a type of cold virus, is engineered to infect and kill tumor cells. Lang’s lab has pioneered the use of mesenchymal stem cells to deliver Delta-24-RGD and other biological therapies to brain tumors.
Laughter has been the foundation’s best ally, with star comedians Kevin Nealon, Dennis Miller and Dana Carvey contributing to the sold-out gala’s success as headliners over the past three years. This year’s Stand-Up for Brain Cancer, May 7 at the River Oaks Country Club, will feature Jim Belushi and his comedy troupe, the Board of Comedy.
“We’re grateful to everyone who’s contributed so generously to our foundation,” says Jamie. “The more we spread the news about Dr. Lang’s research and how underfunded brain cancer is, the more excited people become about wanting to join the cause.”
Learn more at www.thebroachfoundation.org.