Advances Against Mucormycosis: A Tribute to the Memory and Courage of Hank Schueler
Clinical Infectious Diseases: Volume 54 suppl 1 February 1, 2012
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PROGRESS REGARDING ZYGOMYCOSIS
Through your generosity and through our affiliation with Partnership For Cures, we were able to hold the first Henry Schueler 41 & 9 International Forum on Zygomycosis held in Chicago on January 19th – 20th, 2010. This forum was chaired by Dr. Thomas Walsh, former Chief of the Immunocompromised Host Section, Pediatric Oncology Branch, at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland and now Director of the new Transplantation-Oncology Infectious Diseases Program at Cornell University Medical Center (Weill-Cornell Medical College and New York Presbyterian Hospital) in New York.
Present at our conference were physicians and research scientists from MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, UCLA’s Geffen School of Medicine, the National Institutes of Health, as well as international experts from Greece and France. It was an amazing collection of some of the worlds’ leading experts who came to hear Hank’s story and to discuss better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat deadly fungal infections like zygomycosis. Zygomycosis is a disease that attacks cancer patients like Hank and others when their host defenses are compromised by treatment. Dr. Walsh and the other attendees are now compiling their research and presentations from our conference to create a supplement to be published by the Oxford Press in the Clinical Infectious Disease journal. With this wealth of cutting edge research from these leading experts, it is hoped that physicians will be able to utilize this new information to better treat their patients. Dr. Walsh and these other leading researchers and clinicians plan to partner with our Foundation to utilize Hank’s journey and experience to solicit pharmaceutical companies to fund more extensive research and clinical trials to combat this cowardly but deadly disease. To further our Foundation’s mission on researching zygomycosis, the 41 & 9 Foundation also recently endowed a $1000 travel scholarship entitled the “Henry Schueler 41 & 9 Foundation Travel Scholarship” for the International Zygomycosis Conference which was held in Greece in May, 2010. As Dr. Walsh remarked in accepting this contribution, “young investigators are the life-blood for future progress against this tragic disease.” Your contribution will help to build the future scientific expertise needed for successful diagnosis and treatment, as well as to increase the international visibility of the Henry Schueler Foundation.
PROGRESS REGARDING HYPODIPLOID ALL – HALL
In conjunction with Dr. Steven Hunger (Children’s Hospital of Denver) and Dr. Charles Mulligan (St Jude’s Research Hospital) and other members of the National Children’s Oncology Group, The Henry Schueler 41 & 9 Foundation is sponsoring the most comprehensive analysis of Hypodiploid ALL (“HALL”) ever performed. This type of ALL that Henry was afflicted with is extremely rare. In fact, only 120 samples of HALL are known to exist in the United States. Dr. Mullighan recently reported: “To date, we have collected, processed and initiated the analysis of material acquired from more than 120 patients diagnosed with hypodiploid acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Preliminary results from the analysis of genetic variations, such as loss or doubling of genetic material, have revealed a surprisingly high frequency of certain genetic lesions in these tumor cells. It is hoped that the findings of our work will primarily have an impact on the treatment and/or diagnosis of leukemia, with a focus on hypodiploid acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Secondary diseases that might be affected are malignancies in general. Specifically, we are showing that several key cellular pathways are mutated at uniquely high frequency in hypodiploid ALL. The first phase of this project has provided very exciting initial results in this problematic subtype of ALL.” And your support has made these new important discoveries possible. Thank you!!