TGen: Ivy Foundation Honored for Collaborative Effort

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TGen Recognizes Major Investments in Arizona Bioscience Industry

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Advances in brain-tumor research and the creation of an international biosciences consortium were celebrated Tuesday (April 14, 2009) with awards from the Translational Genomics Research Foundation (TGen).

The Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation, which in July awarded $3 million to TGen to lead the Ivy Genomics Based Medicine (GBM) Project in a search for new treatments for brain cancer, was presented with TGen’s Collaborative Spirit Award.

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, which in June announced collaborations with TGen and three other U.S. biomedical groups to help make Luxembourg the biotechnology center of Europe, was presented with TGen’s John S. McCain Leadership Award.

Both awards were announced Tuesday at the fifth annual TGen Founder’s Dinner at Scottsdale Airport’s Hanger One.

“These awards highlight the importance of government, academic and private-sector investments that are helping TGen make Arizona one of the emerging national and international players in biomedical research,” said Dr. Jeffrey Trent, TGen’s President and Research Director. “The foresighted investments by the Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation and by the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg will pay significant dividends in the future for medical advances and patient benefit.”

Dr. Trent referred to a report issued at last week’s annual meeting of the Arizona BioIndustry Association, which showed that in 2007 Arizona’s non-hospital bioscience sector accounted for $3.6 billion in annual revenues and more than 13,500 jobs. Including hospitals and university research, Arizona’s bioscience sector numbers jumped to $12.5 billion in revenues and more than 87,400 jobs.

Dr. Trent presented the Collaborative Spirit Award to Catherine Ivy, Founder and President of the Palo Alto, Calif.-based Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation, a newly formed foundation dedicated to improving survival and quality of life for people diagnosed with brain tumors.

“The Ivy GBM Project represents our priority of keeping the patient and relevant clinical issues at the center of every research project we support” Catherine Ivy said. “The Ivy Foundation is proud to be part of this collaborative effort led by TGen. Not only are we creating synergy with TGen and other participating medical and research institutions, we are also minimizing duplication and maximizing transparency of data to achieve outcomes that would not otherwise be possible.”

The Ivy GBM Project is a multi-institutional collaboration whose goal is to better understand how the genetic differences in individual brain tumors can lead to the most effective treatment options for each patient. It is led by Dr. Michael Berens, Director of TGen’s Cancer and Cell Biology Division. The other project members are: Ohio State University; M.D. Anderson Cancer Center; University of Alabama at Birmingham; University of California, San Francisco; Henry Ford Hospital; Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota; Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine; and Van Andel Research Institute, which in February announced a major alliance and affiliation agreement with TGen.

Arizona Sen. John McCain presented the John S. McCain Leadership Award to Jeannot Krecké, Luxembourg’s Minister of the Economy and Foreign Trade.

“When searching for a partner to help us establish what we hope will be Europe’s premier biotech infrastructure in Luxembourg, we sought out TGen because it is a world-class model of how high-quality science programs can be created in a relatively short period of time,” Minister Krecké said.

Besides TGen, other U.S. groups working with Luxembourg are: Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute; and two Seattle-based institutes: the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Institute, and the Institute of Systems Biology. TGen, the Biodesign Institute and Fred Hutchinson Institute constitute the Partnership for Personalized Medicine, led by Nobel Prize winner Dr. Leland Hartwell, president of the Fred Hutchinson Institute.

One of the first projects, starting July 1, 2009, will be the Integrated Biobank of Luxembourg, a state-of-the-art tissue storage and distribution initiative that will help a worldwide network of cancer scientists and other disease researchers find answers to humanity’s most pressing health problems.

Also, the Partnership for Personalized Medicine is working with Luxembourg Project Lung Cancer to develop a protein-based test for lung cancer, which should help establish early detection, better patient treatments and reduced health costs.

And, the Institute for Systems Biology is working with the University of Luxembourg to establish the Center for Systems Biology Luxembourg, to investigate how various genes lead to diseases and develop health tests based on protein “fingerprints.”

The TGen Founder’s Dinner was hosted by Jacquie and Bennett Dorrance. Bennett Dorrance is Chairman of Scottsdale-based DMB Associates Inc., and he also is Chairman of the TGen Foundation Board of Directors.

About The Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation
The Ivy Foundation is the nation’s largest privately funded foundation dedicated to improving survival and quality of life for people diagnosed with a brain tumor. The foundation’s approach is to fund research in gliomas to improve diagnostics and treatments for patients. For more information, visit: http://www.ivyfoundation.org

Submitted on Behalf of TGen
The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a Phoenix-based non-profit organization dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research with life changing results. Research at TGen is focused on helping patients with diseases such as cancer, neurological disorders and diabetes. TGen is on the cutting edge of translational research where investigators are able to unravel the genetic components of common and complex diseases. Working with collaborators in the scientific and medical communities, TGen believes it can make a substantial contribution to the efficiency and effectiveness of the translational process. For more information, visit: http://www.tgen.org