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January 30, 2010
First Annual Board of Advisors Meeting
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JANUARY 2010

Welcome to the premier edition of the Take Aim at Cancer Research Fund newsletter. Your support means so much, we honestly couldn’t do it without you.

Both Jeff Wigbels and Dr. Roy Herbst have exciting news to share below. Thanks again for being an integral part of this new and exciting cancer research.

FROM THE DESK OF…
JEFFREY L. WIGBELS

Greetings from TakeAimAtCancer.org Headquarters and Happy New Year!

I’d like to start this inaugural newsletter by thanking you, the early supporters of this project. Through your overwhelming patronage, we are launching the Take Aim at Cancer Research Fund to raise $10 million to help further the ongoing research efforts of The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Because of the tireless work of Dr. Roy Herbst and his colleagues at MDACC, not only am I alive to watch my beautiful kids grow up, but we as a human race have good reason to be excited that a ground-breaking approach to fighting cancer is producing exceedingly positive results RIGHT NOW.

This approach is called Personalized Targeted Therapy, and it is being applied through a ground-breaking study Dr. Herbst and his colleagues are conducting called Biomarker-Integrated Approaches of Targeted Therapy for Lung Cancer Elimination (BATTLE). At this time, as the name suggests, this program is focused on lung cancer, specifically non-small cell lung carcinomas (NSCLC), but it has the potential to affect every type of malignancy and may very well one day change the standard of care for cancer treatment. (More on this program in Dr. Herbst’s section of the newsletter.)

Unlike so many non-profits, 100% of the funds we raise will go to research. Our fund is effectively a conduit through which donations will flow to MDACC. In return, MDACC is doing everything they can to afford us the resources we need to get the word out about the fund.

We are only just getting this endeavor off the ground and already we have accomplished so much. Alongside Dr. Herbst, we are building strategic partnerships, receiving awards, hosting events, all towards broadening our network and raising much needed funds. More exciting details to come in future issues of this newsletter.

After reading this and reviewing our website, please feel free to reach out with feedback. We welcome your interest, your input, your partnership.

In the meantime, thank you again and again for your support.

Sincerely,
Jeff

FROM THE DESK OF…
DR. ROY S. HERBST, M.D., Ph.D.

Dear Take Aim at Cancer Supporters,

It is with sincere gratitude that I am writing to report on the details of the work I am doing here at MDACC alongside my esteemed colleagues on the BATTLE study. What follows is a brief overview of the study along with links to a couple key resources for those interested in learning more. Consider this an introduction to the study to which this fund is dedicated. In future issues, I look forward to sharing updates on BATTLE, spotlighting key aspects of the trials, profiling other colleagues of mine, etc., all in an effort to keep you informed of the latest and greatest from the Center for Biomarker-Based Clinical Trials at MDACC’s Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy.

BATTLE is open to late-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). As Jeff suggests, this trial is designed to match drugs to the molecular aspects of an individual patient’s tumor. Each tumor is composed of distinctive biomarkers (proteins); certain cancer drugs are known to attack specific biomarkers. BATTLE’s primary goal is to establish molecular-based, personalized targeted therapy by first examining the biomarker profiles of individual tumors, and then assigning therapies that offer the best benefits based on those characteristics.

Once we determine the genetic makeup of a patient’s tumor, we can match the patient to the drug known to work on his or her unique biomarkers. This approach promises to be more effective than typical treatments, cause fewer side effects and ultimately, eliminate the threat of this devastating disease.

Since this program was initiated in 2006, we have made significant discoveries and, as a result, have been able to develop several new therapies. These advancements will be explored further in our planned BATTLE-2 program for patients with advanced NSCLC that have failed prior therapies.

Not only are we optimistic the BATTLE trials will translate to improved treatment, survival, and other beneficial outcomes for our lung cancer patients, we are hopeful our approach will become the new ‘standard of care’ model for all malignancies. Ultimately, this effort may represent a paradigm shift in the way all cancers are treated.

For those of you interested learning more, I encourage you to refer to the links below:

Spring 2009 Issue of Promise: A Publication for Friends of The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center (PDF) — Lead story on BATTLE

MDACC Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy 2009 Annual Report

Thank you again for your ongoing support,
Dr. Roy S. Herbst, MD., Ph.D.