November 25, 2016
Michael Matters Foundation
22 West Washington Street, #1600
Chicago, IL 60602
Dear Board Members of Michael Matters Foundation:
Thank you for your continued support of NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore). Your ongoing support to provide direct patient assistance to our patients and through our brain tumor clinical research program is greatly appreciated.
Your donation to NorthShore’s Brain Tumor Fund supports our clinical research which benefits not only the patients we see every day, but also moves science and research’s potential benefits forward. Your support is making an impact on our active clinical trials, as well as enabling our team to identify new trials to benefit our patients.
Clinical research is the only accepted way that we can find out if new treatments work better than the standard treatments. Clinical trials have historically been created to answer a specific question; physician-scientists can also treat trials as clinical experimental systems to investigate as yet undefined problems and to produce novel biological or clinical insights. There is a rise in molecularly targeted and immunotherapy clinical trials which link measurable biological characteristics such as genetic mutations to clinical features such as a patient’s response to a particular drug, exemplifies a trend towards more experimental styles of clinical work. Four of our clinical trials have a molecularly targeted or immunotherapy focus. We are hopeful that these trials will provide our patients improved outcomes.
Since July we have opened the NCI-Molecular Analysis for Therapy Choice (NCI-MATCH) trial for our brain cancer patients. NCI-MATCH is a clinical trial that analyzes patients’ tumors to determine whether they contain genetic abnormalities for which a targeted drug exists and offers treatment based on the abnormality. This national research project offers patients targeted therapies that have been approved by the FDA for another type of cancer and have shown some effectiveness against tumors with particular genetic alterations.
The goal of this trial is to determine whether treating cancers according to their molecular abnormalities will be more effective than merely targeting them with all-purpose drugs that actually may only succeed with certain tumor DNA. This project is unlike many other projects in that it has included many more drugs for testing than most other clinical trials. The trial will be able to treat 24 different molecular abnormalities. One of these molecular abnormalities is the EFGR mutation, which is found in approximately 50 percent of glioblastoma patients. This project will further help scale up NorthShore’s efforts to identify genomic drivers in certain strains of brain cancer and develop more targeted therapies
Based on our success with the promising phase I version of the ABT-414 trial, we have launched the phase II version of the trial in patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma. ABT-414 is a unique antibody-drug conjugate, the only type in this class of drugs that is currently being tested in glioblastoma. We had several patients that improved outcomes on the phase I trial. We also have a dendritic cell vaccine, called ICT-107 that is being offered to patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma. Another promising clinical trial is the Toca 5 trial for recurrent glioblastoma and anaplastic astoctyoma. This is a novel gene therapy treatment that involves the surgical placement of a retrovirus. This retrovirus converts a drug that is given as a pill to an active cancer drug once it reaches the site of the brain tumor. We are the only institution in Illinois, Iowa, and Indiana to offer this trial.
Much of our translational research work outpaces the funding and reimbursement that clinical revenues or insurance can cover, and philanthropy has been an essential component to moving our work in clinical research forward. Without support from people like you our patients would not be able to have access to these cutting-edge treatments. Thank you again for your support of our clinical research.
Michael Matters Foundation had previously expressed an interest in continuing to support NorthShore’s Neuro-Oncology clinical research program. We respectfully request your consideration of a donation of $10,000 or more to support our Brain Tumor Fund.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. I will follow up in a few weeks to discuss Michael Matters Foundation’s support. Thank you again for everything you do for our patients and their families.