2021 PERFORMANCE REPORT.
This year was a year of change for the GBM Foundation. First, we officially changed our name to the GBM Foundation. We did this to give more clarity to our mission statement and better visibility for those searching online for organizations who support glioblastoma research. Second, we redesigned our logo with the help of Thomas Buck Studio. Our new logo is a visual representation of an astrocyte. Why did we do this? Glioblastoma is a highly malignant brain tumor that arises from astrocytes, the supportive cells in the nervous system. Third, we revamped the web site to be more user friendly and to provide additional features for our readers. We set up a donation link to allow donors to specify the name of someone they were remembering or honoring. We are both honored and appreciative for the donors who have entrusted us with their remembrances. Both changes resulted in a huge increase in visibility and support from individuals previously unknown to the GBM Foundation.
Although we didn’t hold any Ales events due to our concern about Covid safety, we did participate in 5 festivals in Atlanta. Working with Full Pint Productions, we set up a booth at the Mimosa, Brunch, Bourbon, Wine and Beer Festivals in downtown Atlanta. We sold t-shirts, sunglasses, raffle tickets, and provided information about the GBM Foundation to the festival goers. Full Pint Productions continued to be our corporate sponsor and donated $12,500 to the GBM Foundation in 2021. We are grateful for their sponsorship. Lastly, we attended a dinner in Brooklyn to raise money and awareness for a young man in his early 40’s who is battling GBM. This dinner was hosted by his dear friend Rachon Banks. Rachon’s attendees donated $1,000 to the GBM Foundation. We look forward to a continued partnership.
With money raised from the festivals plus donations from many of you through the GBM website or Facebook and your participation in Amazon Smile and Kroger Giving, we were able to raise a total of $47,272.04 this year. This was more than two-times the money we were able to raise last year. As in the past, all expenses of the Foundation were paid by Carly and Ric, so 100% of your donations were used to fund research. All credit card fees, surcharges and other expenses were offset so all your money could be used the way you intended it to be.
This year we wrote checks for $40,000 for Glioblastoma brain tumor research. The money was once again particularly needed as most research money, lab availability, and other resources were focused on Covid. The researchers all expressed gratitude for the funding to help them continue their work to find a cure for this horrible disease.
Dr. Derek Wainwright at Northwestern University received $30,000. We have supported Dr. Wainwright since 2018 and his immunotherapy work is now being translated into Phase I/II clinical trials. He and his team have been working on a new compound that aims to reverse tumor-induced immune suppression. His plans are to optimize the compound and put it into future clinical trials. Several manuscripts discussing his work in the immunosuppressive effects of aging in the brain and how it negatively impacts immunotherapy for treating glioblastoma are provided in the following links: (i) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32546647/, (ii) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30971917/, (iii) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29500275/, (iv) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28751450/, (v) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26519060/.
In addition, Dr Wainwright informed us that, because of his innovative work in cancer research, he has been selected as a NextGen star and asked to speak at the American Association of Cancer Research Annual meeting in April 2022. He sent a note to Carly and I thanking us for our continued support and the importance of our donations to his team’s work.
The National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS) Defeat GBM initiative received $10,000. Defeat GBM, through its unique infrastructure to facilitate research, allows scientists from different teams to conduct multiple research efforts simultaneously, share more data in real-time, and spend more time in the lab focused on finding and developing new treatments. Using data from the NBTS’s Defeat GBM Research Collaborative, Dr. Paul Mischel (Stanford University) and his laboratory team found that the antidepressant drug, fluoxetine (common brand name: Prozac), potently targets tumor metabolism and inhibits epidermal growth factor (EGFR) signaling, triggering the killing of glioblastoma (GBM) cells. Dr. Mischel’s research also found that “combining fluoxetine with temozolomide, a standard of care for GBM, causes massive increases in GBM cell death and complete tumor regression in mice.” These findings need to be tested in a prospective human clinical trial. Other innovative research from Defeat GBM can be found on the NBTS website.
In 2022, we plan to host Ales for Ashley events in Arlington, TX on March 26 and Asheville, NC on June 4. We will also have a booth at multiple Atlanta Beer Festivals in 2022. Watch our website for more information on events as they are scheduled.
Thank you to all who put their time and money into believing the GBM Foundation will make a difference. We are grateful for you continued support to fund innovative research that focuses on improving survival rates and ultimately finding a cure for Glioblastoma brain tumors.