Do you ever have those really rare “Pinch Me Moments”? Every once in a while, they DO HAPPEN. Ever since last Friday AND Saturday the 15th, I have been kind of “skipping” over the last week because I am just so “Happy & Hopeful” for brain cancer patients. Let me tell you why…….
Most of you know that I’ve been in the brain tumor/brain cancer space for 14.5 years and most of you know it is because my late husband, Chris Elliott, was diagnosed with GBM at 39. During the last 14.5 years, I have never felt so much HOPE in treating brain cancer like I do now.
I’ve been involved in a project for the last three years, that although was made public last Friday, much is still not public knowledge, so the details that I can share are limited. I am increasingly becoming convinced that to KICK BRAIN CANCER BUTT, it will be a combination of surgery, radiation, device and chemo/vaccine/immune therapy. A new device, The Voyager, is going into clinical trials for solid tumors and the first category of solid tumors is GBM. This device has been in Research & Development for the last 16-18 years in San Diego and here in Seattle. Dr. Santosh Kesari first introduced me to the Chairman/President/CEO and the COO of Nativis, the company that developed the technology for this device, John & Lisa Butters, 3 years ago. It has been REALLY exciting to see this technology and this device come to “light” with the prototype that will be used to treat GBM in clinical trials. I am very pleased and proud to call Lisa and John my friends but more importantly, I am so thankful to them for their vision, persistence in bringing their dream into the lives of brain cancer patients and am equally thankful to their stakeholders for continuing to fund this technology and this device. Please go to these two links (the 2nd link is related to the canine study and results that lead to clinical trial of the Nativis Voyager System in humans) to learn more about one of the things/new treatment I am so excited about for the brain cancer community:
AND, On Saturday, 11/15,while in Miami at the annual Society of Neuro-oncology meeting (SNO), where about 2000 national and worldwide researchers, scientists, neuro-oncologists, neuro-surgeons, investors, advocacy groups, etc. gather once a year to listen to presentations related to the outcomes of and/or clinical trials in the pipeline. Truly, when one is fighting this disease, you often feel very alone and sometimes you wonder “WHY ISN’T THERE BEING SOMETHING DONE ABOUT THIS DISEASE?”. If you were to ever have the opportunity to attend this meeting, you would be encouraged and see firsthand that truly, there are many around the world truly dedicated to fighting brain cancer AND there is very encouraging news coming out of the research community.
I don’t know if I can adequately convey how I felt when Dr. Stupp was presenting a “New Standard of Care” for GBM patients and was speaking about a “Paradigm Shift” in treating his disease based on the outcomes of the EF-14 clinical trial, a multi-center trial of NovoTTF together with Temodar compared to Temodar along in patients with newly treated diagnosed GBM. Go to this link to read more about the awesome outcomes of this year’s SNO conference provided by our friend and partner, The Musella Foundation and Al Musella: Highlights From the Society Of Neuro-Oncology 2014 Conference The last section talks about this “Paradigm Shift”. After you read it, you will understand more about the “Pinch Me Moment” I am trying to express. I kind of felt that I was living in an “Unbelievable Moment” and I had a lump in my throat as I realized what this meant to brain cancer patients, their families and IMMEDIATE ACCESS to this treatment. As some of you know, I’ve worked closely for years with the company, Novocure, who produces and markets the device known as the Novo-TTF, newly named “Optune” and have been involved in bringing this device to market for several years even before I testified to the FDA Medical Devices Committee on why this device and this treatment option must be approved for brain cancer patients. I kind of had a moment where I felt like God and Chris were looking down on this announcement, smiling and shaking hands. It’s as if they were almost saying “Well Done”.
I am so proud to be fighting every day for IMMEDIATE ACCESS for the brain cancer patient and their family. Thank you for allowing me to fight for you! We just got access to more treatment options and therefore, more HOPE to a CURE!
During this Thanksgiving Time, I am truly feeling blessed. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family from the Chris Elliott Fund and I.
Dellann Elliott Mydland, Founder & President