As you know, Chris Elliott Fund’s goal, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, is to provide IMMEDIATE ACCESS to advanced brain tumor/cancer treatment options through our no cost Patient Support Services Center and “Direct Connect” program which provides Education, Awareness, Advocacy and Research. Simply put, our efforts lead to putting brain tumor patients into clinical trials and translational treatments faster than they would if left to their own resources. As of today, 80% of all brain tumor patients are not immediately treated at a brain tumor center, NCI designated center, or by a dedicated top brain tumor neuro-oncologist or neurosurgeon; this is why our work with the End Brain Cancer Initiative launch and the Chris Elliott Fund is so VITAL.
When I think VITAL, I think of Paul Allen. His work through the Allen Institute for Brain Science and the fact that he chose the Seattle area as the “home” for his work means so much to the world of brain cancer and brain diseases, not to mention, Seattle area patients. Mr. Allen’s focus on the Lake Union areas for the redevelopment of the bio and medical fields has made a significant impact. With over 600 bio companies in Washington, around 40 of them are now specific to brain cancer and brain diseases. These 40 companies and/or institutions are recognized as the “NW Neuro Neighbors” group of which myself and the End Brain Cancer Initiative/Chris Elliott Fund are proud members. With the work of these companies and Mr. Allen’s contributions, Seattle is poised to become the next “Brain Tumor Research” hot bed. There is nothing more satisfying, as the surviving spouse of a brain cancer victim, than seeing this plethora of bio companies, institutions, and researchers actively collaborating together in our area. Thank you Mr. Allen.
Years ago, Scott Patrick, the VP of Partnerships for the Seattle Seahawks was battling brain cancer and had come to me for help. At the time, we both felt that it made a lot of sense to meet with the Allen Institute for Brain Science in efforts to get them to consider a brain cancer research program. After much work, we pulled together a team willing to work collaboratively on this effort. At the time, our team consisted of Dr. Lynda Chin of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Dr. Ron DePinho who now heads up MD Anderson and Dr. Patrick Wen/DFCI. Unfortunately, our timing was off, as this type of research did not fit into the Allen Institute’s plan.
Several years later, I started working very closely with Dr. Greg Foltz of the Ivy Center for Advanced Brain Tumor Treatment at the Swedish Neuroscience Center in Seattle, which helped propel the Chris Elliott Fund into a national brain tumor/brain cancer patient and caregiver advocacy group, working daily in efforts to getting patients into advanced treatment. My work with Dr. Foltz, through our Chris Elliott Fund patients, directly resulted in 20 of the 52 brain tumor samples currently utilized in the Allen Institute’s Ivy Glioblastoma Project.
I promised Dr. Foltz, just before he lost his battle to pancreatic cancer in June of 2014, that I would continue to advocate for patients by working with his replacement, Dr. Charles Cobbs, at the Ivy Center and Allen Institute. I am hopeful that we will continue to supply the Allen Institute with brain tumor tissue for further research for both the Ivy GBM project and other research projects. After conversations with Lance Stewart, the past Director of Alliances at the Allen Institute, I remain hopeful that together, we can spread the ever-important word that their research is accessible for free to scientists, doctors, and researchers. I do believe we have a cure for brain cancer on the horizon and through the efforts of organizations like the Allen Institute in conjunction with our efforts to get their research into the hands of independent scientists and researchers that this cure is imminent. With my daily access to many brain tumor researchers, doctors and patients from around the world and my ability to consult with specialists through my medical memberships and related conferences, I would boldly like to partner with the Allen Institute to advance our ability to reach that cure.
Paul Allen’s vision and support in getting the Seattle area on the front lines as it relates to bio, research, brain cancer and brain diseases WILL turn Seattle into the next research and treatment “hot bed”. Without this vision and Mr. Allen’s immense financial support, this couldn’t happen. He has provided a path for brain cancer and brain disease cures. I would love to be able to thank him personally as I was deeply affected by the lack of information, research, and treatment in the state of Washington when my late husband was diagnosed with brain cancer. Today, in large part to Paul Allen’s efforts, I am beyond proud to say that patients no longer have to leave the state for access to treatment and research. Let’s keep the IMPACT SIGNIFICANT, further Paul Allen’s vision, and continue to work towards bringing together researchers, doctors, and bio companies because that is where we WILL find a cure!!
Please join us at EndBrainCancer.org to make this CURE a reality.