1 Spring 2008 A publication for friends of The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center Promise BANKING ON HOPE Elizabeth Shpall, M.D., left, director of the M. D. Anderson Cord Blood Bank, and Ping Fu, supervisor, examine a storage tank filled with liquid nitrogen to keep frozen units of umbilical cord blood at the proper temperature until needed for a stem cell transplant. Photo by Eli Gukich Cord Blood Collection Expands Options for Stem Cell Transplant Candidates By Scott Merville Even after its main job is done, a post-delivery umbilical cord still has something that someone, somewhere, desperately needs: blood stem cells. These specialized cells are capable of creating an entirely new blood supply in a cancer patient whose blood has been destroyed by the chemotherapy or radiation treatment used to attack the disease. No Greater Gift As an advanced practice nurse in the outpatient clinic of the Department of Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy at M. D. Anderson, Cindy Trevino cares for patients during the crucial months following bone marrow transplantation. She reviews laboratory work, monitors electrolyte replacement and checks for signs and symptoms of often deadly complications such as graft-versus-host disease. Along with the myriad tasks and responsibilities of her job, says Trevino, comes the personal satisfaction of knowing she s helping patients, step by step, in their journeys toward healing. But last year Trevino took the notion of helping even further. On Oct. 17, 2007, minutes after giving birth to Ava Sophia at The Woman s Hospital of Texas, she donated her baby s umbilical cord blood to M. D. Anderson s Cord Blood Bank. In an instant Trevino nurse, mother, wife, daughter, friend felt a new dimension had been added to her life. I work with these patients every day, says Trevino. I know I m helping them with their medical needs. But to take it to the next level by donating cord blood, I m able to potentially save someone s life. That s very powerful. It s an honor to know I could Cord blood stem cells have a number of advantages over the more traditionally sought bone marrow-derived stem cells. Stem cells from umbilical cords are easier to collect, and there s no inconvenience or harm to the mother or child, says Elizabeth Shpall, M.D., professor in M. D. Anderson s Department of Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy. help give another child or adult a new chance for life. Donating cord blood poses no risk to the mother or to the baby, M. D. Anderson specialists stress. It s harvested in the delivery room after the umbilical cord has been cut. Continued on page 3 Gift Cindy Trevino, a nurse who works with patients post-stem cell transplant at M. D. Anderson, is proud that she and baby Ava Sophia contributed to the Cord Blood Bank. Photo by Eli Gukich Shpall directs the M. D. Anderson Cord Blood Bank, launched with philanthropic funds and now federally funded, and leads a research effort to make cord blood stem cell transplants work faster and better. A Boost From Philanthropy The first in Houston, M. D. Anderson s Cord Blood Bank was established with a March 2004 allocation from the Floyd and Kathleen Cailloux Research Center in Human Cancer Genetics Endowment. Additional major support has come from The Cockrell Foundation and the Cockrell Family Fund. In early 2007, the cord blood bank received a three-year $9 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, allowing the bank to greatly expand its recruitment efforts and storage capacity. Stem cell transplants from a donor called allogeneic transplants are the treatment of choice for high-risk acute myeloid or lymphocytic leukemia, chronic myelogenous leukemia, lymphomas, aplastic anemia and other genetic and immunologic disorders. Blood stem cells, called hematopoietic stem cells, exist in the bone marrow, where they routinely produce new blood cells. Finding a perfect bone marrow donor match from a family member or an unrelated donor is difficult even with 7 million donors Continued on page 2 CORD BLOOD BANK
2 2 Promise SPRING 2008 CORD BLOOD BANK Continued from page 1 registered in the National Marrow Donor Program. A successful transplant requires a perfect match of six human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genes between donor and patient. Once identified, the donor often must overcome a number of inconveniences, such as arranging time off from work, or perhaps traveling from another city. And, notes Shpall, the matched donor always has the option to pull out of the uncomfortable procedure at the last minute, a devastating experience for patients, families and the care team. Stem cells are less complicated to collect, easier to match, stored frozen and readily available for transplantation, says Shpall. This is a benefit to an acute leukemia patient, for example, who has run out of treatment options and needs those cells right now. Jesus Santoyo is a hard-working senior at Jefferson Davis High School in Houston. He takes eight classes, plays the French horn and participates in a computer training course as part of the Cisco Networking Academy. The average observer wouldn t know that fewer than two years ago a double cord blood transplant saved Santoyo s life. Santoyo was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia in March 2004 after experiencing weeks of feeling tired, looking pale and getting infections easily. By the time he arrived at the Children s Cancer Hospital at M. D. Anderson, he was scared and knew that he Cord blood stem cells also are more flexible, Shpall adds. Young Life Back on Track Using cord blood stem cells, we routinely get away with matching four out of six HLA genes, and they work as well as completely matched donor transplants, she says. Mismatched stem cells create a blood supply that launches an immune system attack against the recipient s cells, a potentially lethal side effect called graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). But cord blood cells, Shpall explains, are immunologically immature and don t react as aggressively as adult immune cells against the recipient, so the risk of GVHD is reduced even if the donor and recipient are not perfectly matched. The real beauty of cord blood stem cells is that they allow us to target patients in minority populations, who have the greatest difficulty finding a matching donor, says Shpall. People in minority populations are less likely to find matched donors, mainly because fewer register to donate, and because of differences in gene frequency among ethnic and racial groups. About 59 percent of cord blood stem cell transplants at M. D. Anderson occur in minority patients, compared with about 25 percent of bone marrow transplants. Addressing the Challenges Despite the advantages of cord blood, most umbilical cords still are disposed of as medical Laura Worth, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor at the Children s Cancer Hospital at M. D. Anderson, helped Jesus Santoyo through his double cord blood transplant in had an uphill battle ahead of him. There to meet him was Michael E. Rytting, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics at M. D. Anderson. Rytting, a pediatric oncologist who specializes in leukemias and lymphomas in teenagers and young adults, laid out a six-month aggressive treatment plan. Staying in the hospital and not being able to go out in the public with my friends was tough. I was really down about having cancer, says Santoyo. Every day, though, a nurse or a doctor or a child life specialist would come in and make me laugh. That and support from my family got me through. His endurance paid off. After the treatment Santoyo, minus a few pounds, left the hospital in remission. Everything slid to a halt in December 2005, however, when Santoyo found out he had relapsed. Since chemotherapy had failed to keep Santoyo in remission, his doctors decided to proceed with a bone marrow transplant. Unfortunately, there were no donor matches for him in the National Bone Marrow Registry. A decade ago Santoyo s options might have been limited at that point. But because cord blood banks have been established, Santoyo had a new hope in cord blood transplantation. On June 23, 2006, Santoyo received a double cord blood transplant. More than a year later, the 17-yearold is resuming a normal life. The high school senior aspires to earn a degree in communications or business with a minor in computer science at a major university. I live by the philosophy that you should never give up no matter how hard things get, says Santoyo. Sara Farris waste in the delivery room. In an attempt to counteract this practice, the M. D. Anderson Cord Blood Bank partners with Baylor College of Medicine, Ben Taub General Hospital, The Woman s Hospital of Texas and Memorial Hermann Southwest, with a goal of collecting 60 percent of donations from minorities. The bank has collected 7,000 units and stored and registered 3,400 of those, making them available to patients around the world. As of January 2008, 41 patients had received transplants from M. D. Anderson s bank. The goal is to bank 2,400 units a year. There are 52 public cord blood banks worldwide, 25 in the United States. M. D. Anderson gets most of its cords for transplantation from other banks. Donated cords undergo rigorous testing before they can be banked. Cord blood units that aren t banked (for a number of reasons including low volume of stem cells) go to research, which focuses on the central problem of cord blood stem cell transplants they provide fewer stem cells than do bone marrow stem cell transplants. One cord provides about 10 percent of the stem cells needed, and we re giving two cords to each adult patient, says Richard Champlin, M.D., chair of the Department of Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy at M. D. Anderson. What that means is these patients have a much longer recovery time than patients who have received stem cells from a bone marrow donor. The key is the length of time it takes for the new blood stem cells, delivered intravenously, to home in to the patient s bone marrow, establish themselves there and produce new blood cells that finally reach normal levels. This process, called engraftment, takes a week or two with the dose of stem cells provided by a bone marrow donor, but can take a month or more with a cord blood stem cell transplant. Improving the Odds This lengthy engraftment can lead to shortages of white blood cells and platelets, making patients vulnerable to infection and bleeding, and even to engraftment failure. Our research focus is on trying to overcome this weakness in cord blood transplants, Shpall says. Shpall, Marcos J. de Lima, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy, and colleagues are examining ways to expand the number of stem cells per cord blood unit. Their goal is a tenfold to twentyfold increase in stem cells and an engraftment time of 10 days. De Lima is conducting a clinical trial in which patients get two units of cord blood stem cells. Patients in a control group get two unexpanded
3 A publication for friends of M. D. Anderson Cancer Center 3 units of cord blood, while the other group gets one regular unit and a unit that has been expanded by exposure to a cocktail of cytokines and growth factors. Early results show that the expanded unit is safe for the patient to receive, though the range of stem cell expansion varies greatly. Similarly, Shpall s latest clinical trial uses expanded units of stem cells, growing them on a bed of another type of stem cell found in the bone marrow. These mesenchymal stem cells, which differentiate into fat, bone and cartilage, may provide a naturally nurturing environment for blood stem cells. This technique has provided a tenfold improvement in stem cell dose, and the first three patients engraftments ranged from seven to 20 days. Shpall characterizes these results as exciting but still early. By expanding the supply of blood stem cells available for transplant and improving engraftment, researchers provide an option that can in some cases be curative to more patients. Seeing Results With a Gentler Approach Stem cell transplants differ according to dose of initial chemotherapy. A myeloablative transplant, for example, is preceded by a high dose of chemotherapy that destroys the blood stem cells and thus the patient s blood supply. This type of transplant is generally given to younger patients with aggressive acute myeloid leukemia who can endure its rigors. Champlin developed another type of stem cell transplant, the mini regimen, which uses a lower dose of chemotherapy and thereby spares the patient s blood stem cells. The transplanted blood stem cells gradually muscle out the old blood supply and launch an immune response to destroy the targeted cancer. This approach is open to older patients who are less likely to endure high-dose chemotherapy and works well with less aggressive cancers. At the American Society of Hematology annual meeting in December 2007, Issa Khouri, M.D., professor in the Department of Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy at M. D. Anderson, reported that the lower dose chemotherapy and transplant resulted in longterm complete remission for 45 of 47 follicular lymphoma patients in a clinical trial (please see related story on page 8). The two who relapsed regained a complete response after additional treatment. Our results show that this approach may actually cure follicular lymphoma, Khouri says. Gift Continued from page 1 M. D. Anderson s program is currently available free of charge to women delivering at The Woman s Hospital of Texas, Ben Taub General Hospital and Memorial Hermann Southwest. Law protects the identities of donors and their babies. Trevino delivered her first child almost three years ago at another hospital in Houston where there is no cord blood donation program. This time around it was important to me to donate the cord, so I switched hospitals, says Trevino. My second daughter has the opportunity to save a life, even from the day she was born. Trevino recalls a former patient, a young woman of diverse ethnic background, whose successful cord blood transplant gave her a new lease on life. She was very grateful that she could even start thinking about having a future and starting a family, says Trevino. Trevino is committed to educating the public about cord blood donation, particularly distinguishing the differences between cord blood stem cells and My second daughter has the opportunity to save a life, even from the day she was born. Cindy Trevino No other treatments produce this type of response. Cord blood stem cells as well as bone marrow cells are used in these nonmyeloablative transplants for leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma, Champlin says. Cord blood transplants have worked for patients up to age 79, he notes. Because gvhd is reduced even if the donor and recipient are partially mismatched, we can find a close enough match for almost every patient. embryonic stem cells. Shortly before her due date she participated in Univision s three-part series on the subject that included a phone bank to answer questions from television viewers. People get confused they hear the words stem cell and think embryonic, Trevino says. It s not the same thing. The stem cells are coming from the cord blood, something they re otherwise going to throw away. Trevino says her family was supportive of her decision once they were assured there was no health risk. My husband was very receptive to the idea, says Trevino. He saw it as an opportunity for us to help someone else. Trevino, who returned to work from maternity leave in January, says the experience of cord blood donation has given her a new perspective. It s hard for me to describe, she says. I ve helped on another level that has many dimensions, including spiritual. If one of my life s goals is to be altruistic, I feel I ve met that goal. Sarah Watson From the President Throughout Fiscal Year 2007, innovative research projects and vital patient care programs at M. D. Anderson benefited from more than 130,000 gifts from individuals, corporations, foundations, organizations and trusts and estates. In May M. D. Anderson received its largest gift ever, $50 million from the T. Boone Pickens Foundation. In August we ended the year by celebrating the completion of our $135 million initiative for the Red and Charline McCombs Institute for the Early Detection and Treatment of Cancer more than three years ahead of schedule. It was a remarkable year of widespread growth and recognition as well. Last spring, as M. D. Anderson s Science Park-Research Division in Smithville celebrated its 30th anniversary, preparations were under way to break ground at a new facility, the Center for Advanced Biomedical Imaging Research at the McCombs Institute. In July we were pleased to announce that U.S. News & World Report ranked M. D. Anderson as the No. 1 hospital for cancer care in the nation. In August the UT System Board of Regents approved plans to add nine floors to the top of the Albert B. and Margaret M. Alkek Hospital. These advances and many more are a reflection of your continued support of M. D. Anderson and your dedication to its mission to eradicate cancer. Your generosity is helping us develop and implement new and better methods in the prevention, detection and treatment of cancer. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of patients today and for generations to come. John Mendelsohn, M.D. President
4 4 Promise SPRING 2008 Highlights and Accolades Mendelsohns Receive Guideposts Humanitarian of the Year Award Guideposts magazine honored Anne and John Mendelsohn, M.D., with the 2007 Norman Vincent and Ruth Stafford Peale Humanitarian Award. Created in 1999, the award recognizes outstanding, caring individuals whose generous and compassionate motivations have made a significant, positive impact on society. Guideposts was created by the late Dr. Norman Vincent Peale (also a co-founder of the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans) and his wife, the late Ruth Stafford Peale. Their family continues to publish the magazine as a tool for furthering Peale s ministry of faith-based positive thinking. The award that bears their names reflects their philosophy of giving not only time, prayer, love and service, but also personal resources. The Mendelsohns contributions span medicine, cancer research, civic service, technology advancement and philanthropy. In his acceptance speech Mendelsohn spoke of the value of making a difference in people s lives. Terry Giles, from left, a member of M. D. Anderson s Board of Visitors as well as the Guideposts Cabinet, and wife Kalli O Malley congratulate Anne and Dr. John Mendelsohn at a gala Nov. 2 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Houston. Photo by Pete Baatz Anne and I decided many years ago that, as a team, we could make a positive impact not only through the quantity of our activities, but also through the quality of our activities, he said. As Dr. Peale stated, The challenges in life are there not to break you, but to create you. The challenges we have faced have motivated us to keep working toward the goal of Making Cancer History. Hawk Heads Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences Ernest T. Hawk, M.D., M.P.H., recently joined M. D. Anderson as vice president and head of the Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences. Hawk succeeds Bernard Levin, M.D., who Ernest Hawk, M.D., retired as vice president and M.P.H. division head after 23 years of distinguished service at M. D. Anderson. I look forward to building upon Dr. Levin s successes, says Hawk, who comes to the institution from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Bethesda, Md. The division will continue to serve as a dynamic training ground for researchers and practitioners committed to cancer prevention and to the broader mission of improving and sustaining health. Hawk, a native of Detroit, Mich., is trained as a medical oncologist specializing in cancers of the gastrointestinal tract. He earned his bachelor s and medical degrees at Wayne State University School of Medicine and his master of public health degree at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He completed an internal medicine internship and residency at Emory University; a medical oncology clinical fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco; and a cancer prevention fellowship at the NCI. Hawk s tenure at the NCI spanned 11 years and included multiple posts within the organization, including chief of the Gastrointestinal and Other Cancers Research Group in the Division of Cancer Prevention; medical officer in the Chemoprevention Branch; chair of the Translational Research Working Group; and, most recently, director of the Office of Centers, Training and Resources in the Office of the Director. His personal research interests include the identification and translational development of markers and agents that may detect or prevent cancer. He also is interested in the molecular intersections between cancer and other common diseases of aging such as cardiovascular disease and cognitive disorders. I have a great admiration and respect for Dr. Hawk and know that he will be a tremendous asset to M. D. Anderson, says Raymond DuBois, M.D., Ph.D., provost and executive vice president. His leadership and vision are critical in expanding on the division s groundbreaking work accomplished during Dr. Levin s tenure. Hawk s numerous awards include the NCI Research Award for Distinguished Achievement in Cancer Prevention. He is senior editor of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, a monthly journal published by the American Association for Cancer Research. Hawk is extremely excited about the opportunities in cancer prevention research and clinical practice at M. D. Anderson. I firmly believe the division has the capacity to emerge as the definitive resource for educating the public and health care professionals about state-ofthe-art practices in cancer prevention and the critical role that research plays in its future, he says.
5 A publication for friends of M. D. Anderson Cancer Center 5 Strategic Alliance Seeks to Speed Cancer Drug Development M. D. Anderson and GlaxoSmithKline, a leading research-based pharmaceutical and health care company, recently entered a five-year, nonexclusive strategic alliance designed to accelerate translational research and ultimately bring new cancer drugs to patients faster. Through this partnership the organizations will M. D. Anderson and GlaxoSmithKline share the goal of advancing personalized medicine by identifying patients most likely to benefit from specific drugs and monitoring their responses. A joint alliance team will oversee interactions for a series of focused initiatives that include mutual basic science, work together to more effectively develop new This alliance will bring two great organizations together, combining unique strengths of GlaxoSmithKline clinical research and education. Strategic therapeutic, alliances are the with our faculty. diagnostic and way of the future imaging products of mutual interest. Integrated Robert Bast, M.D. where academe and industry work together preclinical and clinical programs for disease intervention will enable researchers and clinicians to address key questions in the lab and translate those findings to the clinic and back to the lab. toward common goals that benefit our patients, says Robert Bast, M.D., vice president for translational research at M. D. Anderson. This alliance will bring two great organizations together, Robert Bast, M.D. combining unique strengths of GlaxoSmithKline with our faculty to more effectively bring the newest drugs to our patients faster. The collaboration also calls for the GlaxoSmithKline Translational Research Fellowship, a two-year program projected to start this fall for basic scientists selected by M. D. Anderson and GlaxoSmithKline. The fellows will work with basic science and clinical mentors within both organizations and will participate in clinical rotations and didactic course work while conducting their laboratory research. Michael J. Keating Receives Aishel House s Physician Award Michael J. Keating, M.D. Michael J. Keating, M.D., professor of medicine in the Department of Leukemia at M. D. Anderson, received Aishel House s Rofeh Yedid Award at the organization s annual benefit concert Feb. 12 at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts in Houston. Rofeh Yedid translates as physician and dear friend. Each year Aishel House presents the award to a physician who goes above and beyond the call of duty, demonstrating extraordinary concern for a patient as only a true personal friend would. Established by members of the Houston Jewish community, Aishel House provides nonmedical support services to in-town and out-of-town patients and their families at the Texas Medical Center. These services include subsidized housing within walking distance of the medical center, transportation assistance, hospital chaplaincy, counseling, good-cheer projects, assistance with child care and warm meals when necessary. Spotlight Couple Recalls M. D. Anderson Experience I just didn t feel right. With these words, Eugenia Carol McIntosh embarked on a medical journey of more than 40 years. My husband, Paul, worked for BFGoodrich, which had plants all over the world, she recalls. In 1966, we were stationed in Lima, Peru, and I went to a German doctor. He told me I had gynecologic cancer and to get my affairs in order. After this diagnosis, Carol returned to her hometown of Miami, Okla., where she underwent surgery. Their family doctor recommended she go to M. D. Anderson for further evaluation and treatment. At M. D. Anderson Carol underwent a battery of tests, additional surgery and radiation over the course of four months. I felt very well cared for, she says. The nurses were fantastic. I had no problems at all. Carol has been cancer-free ever since. I celebrated my 34th birthday at M. D. Anderson, says Carol. I felt like they took care of me, too, Paul adds. They showed caring throughout our time there. The nurses even made up my couch-bed every day. The McIntoshes followed their youngest daughter to South Carolina 15 years ago and live close to the Blue Ridge Mountains in Landrum. They celebrated their 59th anniversary in February of this year. We feel like M. D. Anderson made that possible, says Carol. M. D. Anderson s core values of caring, integrity and discovery made a lasting impression on Paul and Carol McIntosh of Landrum, S.C.
6 6 Promise SPRING 2008 Donors Make a Difference H-E-B Professorship Funds Innovative Research Projects Through the H-E-B Professorship in Cancer Research, Claudio J. Conti, D.V.M., Ph.D., professor in the Department of Carcinogenesis at M. D. Anderson, maintains a dynamic and competitive research program at the institution s Robin Fuchs-Young, Ph.D., associate professor, and Claudio J. Conti, D.V.M., Ph.D., professor, both of the Department of Carcinogenesis at M. D. Anderson, are collaborating on a study of mitochondria and a possible link to diabetes, obesity and cancer. Virginia Harris Cockrell Cancer Center, Science Park-Research Division, in Smithville, Texas. Using tissue culture models and genetically engineered animal models, Conti studies the molecular events that regulate cell proliferation and differentiation and the changes that allow cancer to develop. The funding provided by this endowment is essential to our laboratory operation, says Conti. The H-E-B Professorship gives Conti the means to explore new ideas in a timely manner and gather preliminary data before applying for federal research grants. It s a Catch-22 you need proven results to get grant money, but you need money to get those results, he says. Traditional funding mechanisms can delay one s ability to switch gears in today s fast-paced research environment. Philanthropy is important because it bridges the gap and can be used to jumpstart projects. One such project, Conti says, is a collaboration with Science Park-Research Division colleagues and UT Austin to determine whether mitochondria (organelles responsible for providing energy to cells) may hold a link to diabetes, obesity and cancer. Investigators in Conti s lab continue to study cell cycle regulators molecules that regulate cell reproduction and their role in cancer development. They also are working to identify spontaneous genetic mutations in mouse colonies, continuing a longstanding relationship with researchers at the Institut Pasteur in France. Conti s reputation for cutting-edge research inspired H-E-B to continue its longtime support of M. D. Anderson, says Charles Butt, H. E. Butt Grocery Company chairman and CEO and a senior member of M. D. Anderson s Board of Visitors. The opportunity to underwrite Dr. Conti s professorship gives us a vehicle to take at least a small part in the advance of knowledge toward the defeat of cancer, says Butt. Conti says he could not have conducted this research without the H-E-B Professorship. I m thankful for the opportunities the H-E-B Professorship has made possible for me, says Conti. It gives me the capacity to pursue ideas I m passionate about. It enables us to properly train investigators and technicians and to cover salaries for laboratory employees. Sarah Watson Fellowship Targets Liver Cancer Business leader and former M. D. Anderson patient Marion D. Edwards has made a positive impact on the institution and the lives of many cancer patients in his home state of Louisiana. The Marion D. Edwards Fellowship in Hepatic Oncology celebrates Edwards personal Marion D. Edwards, center, congratulates Glauco Souza, Ph.D., Odyssey Scholar in the Department of GU Medical Oncology, left, and Davide Melisi, M.D., postdoctoral fellow in the Department of GI Medical Oncology, the first recipients of the Marion D. Edwards Fellowship in Hepatic Oncology at M. D. Anderson. determination to survive both colon and liver cancers and his compassion to help others find the care they need. Friends continue to honor Edwards through their own personal contributions, such as a recent $25,000 gift from the Florence Mauboules Charitable Trust, which brings the fellowship near its initial goal of $100,000. I ve sent probably 200 people to M. D. Anderson, says Edwards, of Broussard, La. I ve taken them in my car, chartered airplanes, all at my expense. I consider it my contribution to the good Lord and to M. D. Anderson. After being diagnosed with colon cancer in 1977, Edwards came to M. D. Anderson and was placed under the care of Giora M. Mavligit, M.D., now professor emeritus in the Department of Experimental Therapeutics. Five years later Edwards, seemingly doing well, returned to M. D. Anderson for a routine follow-up exam and learned he had liver cancer. Surgery was scheduled for July 1982, and three months later Edwards was back at work in his Crowley, La., office. I just kept going on, says Edwards. I knew that with courage and hope and the good doctors at M. D. Anderson, I could make it. Indeed, Edwards continues to keep going more than 30 years after being diagnosed with colon cancer and more than 25 years after liver cancer. I ve been around the world 14 times since that horrible day in 1977, says Edwards. I don t let cancer bother me. Misfortune is as much a part of life as fortune. Edwards says he s honored that, through the fellowship in his name, physicians and scientists at M. D. Anderson are developing new ideas and approaches to eventually eliminate liver cancer as a major health threat. Giving to M. D. Anderson is part of my life, he says. Sarah Watson
7 A publication for friends of M. D. Anderson Cancer Center 7 Fund Supports Research in Rare Sinus Cancer In 1999, a rare, aggressive cancer called sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma claimed the life of Patricia Knebel. Her husband, William J. Knebel, established the Patricia L. Knebel Memorial Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation to honor her memory and to support research in head and neck cancers. Patricia Knebel with granddaughter Olivia Brook Knebel. Recently Knebel embarked on a five-year commitment of $50,000 to fund a research project led by Ehab Hanna, M.D., professor and vice chair for clinical affairs in the Department of Head and Neck Surgery at M. D. Anderson. Together, Knebel and Hanna hope to zero in on the molecular characteristics of the disease and other neuroendocrine tumors of the paranasal sinuses. Patricia was a prolific writer of children s literature, short stories and poetry. She lived with her husband and two sons in Cranberry Township, about 20 miles north of Pittsburgh. In the early 1990s, she began experiencing headaches, nasal congestion and blockage and other symptoms that plagued her like a sinus infection that wouldn t go away. A CT scan and biopsy at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center revealed a malignant, inoperable tumor. An intense regimen of chemotherapy and radiation seemed to put the cancer at bay, and Patty resumed her everyday life. Unfortunately, the treatments left her with no sense of taste and smell, an extreme sensitivity to temperature and many other side effects. Four years later, follow-up tests revealed the cancer had returned, and once again it was inoperable. We ll continue with our efforts to support research until we find a clear-cut solution to this cancer, says Knebel, who holds a doctorate in chemistry. At the very least, it s all that I can do for my wife at this point. Knebel hopes to help bring about quicker diagnosis of the disease and more effective, less toxic treatments. There s a large number of possible malignancies, but mainly only one treatment, he says, citing the need for increased awareness of the rare cancer as well as the need for more philanthropic and federal support for research. We need more individualized treatments. I d like to see some scientific breakthroughs in my lifetime. The Knebel Memorial Fund has made a number of advances possible at M. D. Anderson, says Hanna, including a comprehensive clinical informatics system for patients with all types of sinonasal cancers. This database on more than 600 patients will provide a platform for future clinical, basic and translational investigation, he says. Hanna and colleagues will perform correlative biomarker studies on tissue specimens from 60 patients with sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma and compare them to those of patients with other types of neuroendocrine and undifferentiated sinus tumors. In addition, Hanna says, Knebel s contributions have played a role in investigating the use of surgical robotics in the removal of hard-to-access sinus tumors. We ve presented the first-ever report on the use of robotic assisted surgery in treating sinus cancer, says Hanna. This work was presented to the American Head and Neck Society in San Diego, the American Radium Society in Amsterdam and the Brazilian Head and Neck Society in Sao Paolo. We re the first in the world to describe the use of surgical robotics in treating sinus cancer. Sarah Watson Wearing pink jerseys in support of the fight against breast cancer, U.S. Women s National Team members celebrate their victory over Canada, May 12, 2007, at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas. The U.S. Soccer Federation and the Women s National Team contributed more than $31,000 from an online auction of the jerseys to breast cancer research at M. D. Anderson. All 18 game-worn and autographed jerseys received bids, with winning bids ranging from $920 to $4,100. Amanda Harris, from left, and Ashley Pratka of M. D. Anderson s Development Office accept a check from Renfro Foods Jack Renfro, chief operating officer; Doug Renfro, president; and Bill Renfro, chief executive officer. Renfro Foods launched breast cancer awareness campaigns in April and October 2007, earmarking a portion of pink-lidded Mrs. Renfro s salsas for breast cancer research. The Fort Worthbased, family-run company has been in operation since Photo by Nan Coulter
8 8 Promise SPRING 2008 SCIENTIFIC BREAKTHROUGHS > > > > Research Links Diet, Gardening to Reducing Lung Cancer Risk By simply eating four or more servings of green salad a week and working in the garden once or twice a week, smokers and nonsmokers may substantially reduce the risk of developing lung cancer, say researchers at M. D. Anderson. This is the first risk prediction model to examine the effects of diet and physical activity on the possibility of developing lung cancer, says Michele R. Forman, Ph.D., lead author of the study and a professor in the institution s Department of Epidemiology. Forman presented study results at the American Association for Cancer Research December 2007 meeting in Philadelphia. The data are from an ongoing M. D. Anderson case-control lung cancer study involving more than 3,800 participants. Separate epidemiologic risk assessment models were developed for current and former smokers as well as for those who have never smoked ( never smokers ). Forman looked at salad consumption and gardening because salad is a marker for the consumption of many vegetables, and gardening is an activity in which smokers and nonsmokers can participate. The baseline lung cancer prediction model had moderate risk protection. The study pairs M. D. Anderson lung cancer patients with cancerfree current, former and never smoker counterparts provided through a partnership with Kelsey- Seybold Clinic, a Houstonbased HMO. Other risk factors include exposure to secondhand smoke and dust, family history of cancer and Michele R. Forman, Ph.D. the patient s history of respiratory disease and smoking. For the complete news release regarding this study, please visit Gentler Chemotherapy Before Stem Cell Transplant Causes Remission in Clinical Trial Treating relapsed follicular lymphoma patients with a milder chemotherapy regimen before they receive a blood stem cell transplant from a donor resulted in long-term complete remission for 45 of 47 patients in a clinical trial, researchers at M. D. Anderson reported at the American Society of Hematology meeting in Atlanta. The traditional treatment before receiving a matched stem cell donation consists of higherdose chemotherapy that kills the lymphoma cells and shuts down the patient s own blood-producing stem cells a process called myeloablation. While waiting for the donor s stem cells to engraft in the bone marrow and to begin producing blood, patients are vulnerable to infection, bleeding and anemia. Early research by lead author Issa Khouri, M.D., professor in M. D. Anderson s Department of Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy, and colleagues indicated that using a nonmyeloablative chemotherapy approach could control the lymphoma while sparing patients the side effects of high-dose chemotherapy. The transplanted blood stem cells launch an immune system attack on the lymphoma, a process called graft-versus-lymphoma immunity. Our early results were encouraging. But with follicular lymphoma you need a long follow-up to see if the results hold, Khouri says. All patients in the currrent trial have been followed for at least five years, some for up to nine years. Long-term follow-up also allowed researchers to thoroughly gauge side effects, or toxicity, of the nonmyeloablative approach. It reduces toxicity Issa Khouri, M.D. significantly, Khouri says. Even elderly patients can have this done. For the complete news release regarding this study, please visit Re-engineered Gleevec More Specific to GIST, Less Toxic to Heart Researchers at M. D. Anderson and Rice University have re-engineered the powerful anticancer drug imatinib best known by its brand name Gleevec to more specifically target one type of cancer while potentially curbing a rare life-threatening cardiotoxic side effect. The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, reports pre-clinical evidence that the newly re-engineered drug, WBZ-4, is just as effective as imatinib against gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) and carries significantly less risk of heart failure. The new drug was designed at Rice and produced and tested at M. D. Anderson as part of the Rice-M. D. Anderson Partnership for Cancer Drug Discovery. Comprehensive testing in mouse models involved several teams of researchers led by M. D. Anderson s Gabriel Lopez-Berestein, M.D., professor of experimental therapeutics, and Anil Sood, professor of cancer biology. Loyola University Medical Center s Allen Samarel conducted in-vitro testing for cardiotoxicity. This is terrific proof of principle that we can enhance the selectivity of a drug by making a small but significant change in its structure and with precise synthesis and formulation of the new drug, says Lopez-Berestein. WBZ-4 is not yet available for human testing, and no date for human trials has been set. Funding came from the National Institutes of Health, the Gulf Coast Center for Computational Cancer Research, the Welch Foundation, the National Cancer Institute and the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. Gabriel Lopez-Berestein, M.D. For the complete news release regarding this study, please visit Images Shed Light on How Cell Division Is Regulated Researchers have solved the structure of a DNAprotein complex that s crucial in the spread of antibiotic resistance among bacteria. The report in the journal Nature focuses on how DNA separates and maintains its integrity when a cell divides. Using X-ray crystallography, the team led by structural biologists at M. D. Anderson, with colleagues at the University of Sydney in Australia, produced clear 3-D images of the structure that results when two proteins connect with a DNA site to segregate DNA during cell division. The researchers used the Advanced Light Source synchrotron at the U.S. Department of Energy s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Lead author Maria Schumacher, Ph.D., associate professor in M. D. Anderson s Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and colleagues flag a possible target for clinical attack on antibioticresistant staphylococcus aureas. The research was supported by a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award, an M. D. Anderson Trust Fellowship, a National Institutes of Health grant, an Australian Research Council grant and an Australian National Health and Medical Research Council Project grant. For the complete news release regarding this study, please visit departments/newsroom. Maria Schumacher, Ph.D
9 A publication for friends of M. D. Anderson Cancer Center 9 David H. Koch Gives $18 Million David H. Koch, executive vice president and one of the principal owners of Koch Industries, Inc., has given M. D. Anderson $18 million to create the David Koch Center for Applied Research in Genitourinary Cancers. Under the direction of Christopher Logothetis, M.D., chair of the Department of Genitourinary Medical Oncology, the Koch Center will bring together basic, translational and clinical scientists to rapidly move scientific findings to patients with diseases such as prostate cancer, which Koch has battled for many years. The idea behind the Koch Center is to create a unique infrastructure that enables us to take abundant discovery and move it more efficiently and more reliably into human studies, says Logothetis. The Koch Center will create a shared environment where researchers in basic science, applied science and all the fields with which we interact can obtain and analyze data the same way, use the same scientific language, establish strict project management deadlines and stay goaloriented. This approach also allows the Koch Center to create a memory. Each time we do a study in humans or in animals, it will be recorded in such a way that allows us to retrieve the data to see how it relates to the next study, explains Logothetis. Should a scientist leave the institution, notes Logothetis, his or her work will be preserved so that it will remain available to investigators worldwide. John Mendelsohn, M.D. PRESIDENT Patrick B. Mulvey VICE PRESIDENT FOR DEVELOPMENT Stephen C. Stuyck VICE PRESIDENT FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS DeDe DeStefano PROGRAM MANAGER Sarah Watson EDITOR Eli Gukich DESIGNER Sara Farris Scott Merville CONTRIBUTING WRITERS For more information about supporting cancer research and patient programs at M. D. Anderson, please visit: or contact: The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center Development Office - Unit 705 P.O. Box Houston, TX Fax: This publication was not printed at state expense. Christopher Logothetis, M.D., thanks David H. Koch for his exceptional support and commitment to prostate cancer research during M. D. Anderson s Board of Visitors meeting in November. Koch attributes his passion for supporting prostate cancer research to his own experience with the disease. I have been living with prostate cancer for 15 years and am under the care of Dr. Logothetis, says Koch. I m a survivor, and I have tremendous sympathy for others who have this disease. When you re up close and personal with prostate cancer, you become a crusader. My wife and I have three of Visitors since He and his wife, Julia, also have given financially to the institution for more than a decade. Koch Industries, Inc. owns a diverse group of companies with about $90 billion in revenues, 80,000 employees and a presence in nearly 60 countries. Familiar Koch company brands include STAINMASTER carpet, LYCRA spandex, Quilted Northern tissue and Dixie cups. young children, I feel and I have great I m a survivor, and I have tremendous extraordinarily aspirations sympathy for others who have this disease. blessed to to live long be one of When you re up close and personal with enough to see the principal prostate cancer, you become a crusader. all of them owners of Koch graduate from college. My DAVID H. KOCH Industries, says Koch. children are tremendous incentives. Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer found in American men, other than skin cancer. It is second only to lung cancer as the leading cause of cancer death in men. We re humbled by the trust that our patients, such as David Koch, place in us for their care and with their gifts to the institution, and we feel especially compelled to deliver results, says Logothetis. They drive us and give us a sense of responsibility just as much as a peer-reviewed grant. Koch has supported M. D. Anderson for many years, having served on the institution s advisory The outstanding growth of my family company has been largely due to the heroic efforts of our executives and employees and has enabled me to be very generous to many worthwhile institutions. Koch has contributed more than $500 million over his lifetime to a wide variety of organizations and programs that further cancer research, enhance medical centers and support educational institutions, as well as to programs that sustain arts and cultural institutions. In 2004, Koch received a presidential appointment to the National Cancer Advisory Board of the National Cancer Institute. He serves on more than 20 nonprofit boards. DeDe DeStefano board The University Cancer Foundation Board
10 10 Promise SPRING 2008 Events and Fundraisers Making Cancer History Awards M. D. Anderson presented its inaugural Making Cancer History Award to an extraordinary cancer advocate and tireless M. D. Anderson supporter. At A Conversation With a Living Legend, a fundraising dinner Nov. 15 in Washington, D.C., Bob Schieffer received the award for embodying the institution s core values of caring, integrity and discovery. We have called on Bob for many volunteer opportunities, and I can t recall a time when he has ever said, I can t do that, said John Mendelsohn, M.D., president of M. D. Anderson, who presented the award. We are fortunate to count on his support and good will and grateful that he commits so much to us while juggling his impressive career. The event marked Schieffer s sixth legend interview for M. D. Anderson, including his Dallas interviews with Gen. Colin Powell in 1998, James A. Baker III in 2005 and Rudy Giuliani in 2006 and his Washington, D.C., interviews with Sissy Spacek in 1993 and Harry Belafonte in He also volunteered his time narrating the institution s A Place of Hope video. Schieffer is CBS chief Washington correspondent and anchor and moderator of Face the Nation, CBS News Sunday public affairs broadcast. He served as interim anchor of The CBS Evening News and is a regular contributor to The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric. Schieffer has covered Washington for CBS News for more than 30 years and is one of the few broadcast or print journalists to have covered all four major beats in the nation s capital the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department and Capitol Hill. He has been chief Washington correspondent since 1982 and congressional correspondent since 1989 and has covered every presidential campaign since Lansing, Donaldson Accept Awards in Houston In December, at A Conversation With a Living Legend in Houston, Sherry Lansing and Sam Donaldson received Making Cancer History Awards for their community advocacy. Mendelsohn and Abigail Armstrong, 12, a patient at the Children s Cancer Hospital at M. D. Anderson, presented the awards. It is clear that Sherry Lansing has an intense passion for raising awareness of the problem Bob Schieffer accepts the inaugural Making Cancer History Award at A Conversation With a Living Legend in Washington, D.C., as John Mendelsohn, M.D., president of M. D. Anderson, looks on. of cancer and an incredibly extensive history of supporting cancer research and patient care initiatives, said Mendelsohn. We are pleased to have such an enthusiastic partner working with us toward the goal of Making Cancer History. Lansing sits on the boards of The Carter Center, Teach for America and the American Association for Cancer Research. She s a regent of In Houston for A Conversation With a Living Legend, Sam Donaldson and Sherry Lansing each received a Making Cancer History Award. the University of California and serves as chair of its University Health Services Committee. She also serves on California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger s Committee on Education Excellence. In December 2004, Lansing was appointed to the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Lansing serves on the Friends of Cancer Research board of directors executive committee. She also lends her energy and talents to the American Red Cross board of governors and to Stop Cancer, a nonprofit philanthropic group she founded in partnership with the late Armand Hammer, M.D. In presenting the award to Donaldson, Mendelsohn described the veteran ABC News journalist as an outstanding supporter of M. D. Anderson and an active cancer research advocate. Sam participates in the National Dialogue on Cancer, serves on the board of directors of Research America and has been actively involved in raising funds for cancer research by chairing events for the Cancer Research Foundation of America in Washington, D.C., said Mendelsohn. In 2003, M. D. Anderson recognized both Sam and his wife, Jan Smith Donaldson, with the Loving Hearts, Caring Hands Award benefiting M. D. Anderson s chaplaincy and spiritual support program, and we are pleased to present the Making Cancer History Award to him as well. Donaldson served two appointments as chief White House correspondent for ABC News, covering Presidents Carter, Reagan and Clinton. Donaldson also co-anchored, with Diane Sawyer, PrimeTime Live from 1989 until it merged with 20/20 in He co-anchored the ABC News Sunday morning broadcast This Week With Sam Donaldson & Cokie Roberts from 1996 to He also hosted The Sam Donaldson Show Live in America, a daily news/talk radio program broadcast on ABC News Radio affiliates across the country. Currently, Donaldson hosts the daily halfhour Politics Live on ABC News Now, the ABC News digital network. DeDe DeStefano
11 A publication for friends of M. D. Anderson Cancer Center 11 Santa s Elves Support Children s Cancer Hospital Santa s Elves were busy in 2007, planning and producing two events in Houston supporting the Kids Need Information, Too (KNIT) program at the Children s Cancer Hospital at M. D. Anderson. The institution s Advance Team kicked off the holiday season and raised approximately $10,000 at a Santa s Elves party Nov. 29 at the home of Shelly and Michael Dee. Some 75 guests perused an array of Children s Art Project products available for purchase and enjoyed a performance by the Imani School Jazz Band. Among Advance Team members on hand were Ed Deery, Jeannie Frazier, Lourdes Hernandez, Britton Holland, Beth Lee, Ashley Loeffler, Dorothy Paterson, Debra Paxton, Sheryl Rapp, Anooshea Saberioon Taghdisi, Angela Schroder, Kathryn Hall Wilson and Don Woo. Approximately 185 guests attended the Dec. 11 Santa s Elves party at the home of Paige and Tilman Fertitta, raising more than $101,000. Event founding chairs were Patsy and Greg Fourticq, Gregory Fourticq Jr., Diane and John B. Connally III, Courtney Hill Fertitta and Jason Fertitta and Beth Sanders Moore and Jess Moore. Pure Sound, a youth choir from St. Luke s United Methodist Church, added to the festive ambience. Proceeds from both events will support the KNIT program, an outreach of the Children s Cancer Hospital for children whose parents have been diagnosed with cancer. KNIT helps children cope with the trauma, confusion and changes brought about by the parent s disease. The Santa s Elves tradition began in Gregory Fourticq Jr. surprised his parents, Patsy and Greg Fourticq, with the first Santa s Elves party to celebrate the Norman Jaffe Professorship in Pediatrics at the Children s Cancer Hospital, established in honor of the Fourticqs 50th wedding anniversary. Sarah Watson Gregory Fourticq Jr. of New York and Board of Visitors member Beth Sanders Moore of Houston enjoy a festive moment at the Dec. 11 Santa s Elves party. Advance Team members Jeannie Frazier, from left, Lourdes Hernandez and Dorothy Paterson, chairs of the Nov. 29 Santa s Elves party, celebrate a successful event. ADVANCE TEAM Shelly Dee Each issue of Promise features an interview with a member of the M. D. Anderson Advance Team or Board of Visitors leadership. Here we spotlight Shelly Dee of Houston, chair of the Advance Team s Events Committee. You ve been a member of the Advance Team since What motivated you to become involved? My family has supported M. D. Anderson for many years (Shelly s father, Forrest Hoglund of Dallas and Houston, is a senior member and former chairman of the institution s Board of Visitors). I was particularly interested in working with the Advance Team because of its emphasis on the Children s Cancer Hospital at M. D. Anderson. It s the part of the hospital I m most familiar with, and, as the mother of four kids, I m very happy to have the opportunity help children. What are your goals for the Events Committee? My primary goal is to increase participation of the Advance Team members and to give them a variety of ways to get involved with M. D. Anderson and the Children s Cancer Hospital. What types of events has the committee planned? Since I started with the Events Committee in the spring of 2007, we ve organized a booth at the Houston Children s Festival and participated in a game night at Minute Maid Park, when the Children s Cancer Hospital and the Houston Astros teamed up to raise awareness of pediatric cancer. Advance Team members attended an M. D. Anderson educational event and reception in Aspen and hosted a table at the inaugural A Conversation With a Living Legend in Houston featuring Sherry Lansing. We placed ads promoting the Children s Cancer Hospital in local school newspapers, distributed sunscreen to about 18,000 people at Houston Museum Day and hosted a holiday party to benefit the Kids Need Information, Too outreach program at the Children s Cancer Hospital (please see related story at left). What s in store for the coming months? We plan to host a booth again this spring at the Houston Children s Festival. We re working on the possibility of an awareness event at a Houston Aeros game. And, since the recent Santa s Elves parties in Houston have been such a success, we re taking the concept to other cities. We re also introducing Dr. Genie Kleinerman, head of the Children s Cancer Hospital, through speaking engagements at various venues in Houston and elsewhere. The inaugural Young Texans Against Cancer (YTAC) Golf Classic, sponsored by Academy Sports and Outdoors Oct. 1 at Wildcat Golf Club, raised more than $133,000 for the Uterine Cancer Research Program at M. D. Anderson. The nonprofit YTAC was established in 2001 by 44 young adults in the Houston area who have had personal experiences with cancer. YTAC is dedicated to raising awareness about cancer among people under the age of 40 and slates a second golf tournament/fundraiser Oct. 20, Pictured, from left, are Kristy Armstrong of YTAC, Irene Hunsicker and Kelly Hunsicker of YTAC. Comfortable walking shoes, a crisp, sunny day and the support of family and friends inspired Rachel Henry, 9, to pick up the pace for brain cancer research at M. D. Anderson. The occasion was a 5K run and walk at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Ill., through which Rachel and her mom, Margaret Henry, raised more than $7,400 for research under the direction of Charles A. Conrad, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Neuro-Oncology. Rachel s uncle, Brian Geiger, who has an oligodendroglioma, has been Conrad s patient for eight years. Pictured are Geiger, Rachel and Margaret Henry, Geiger s sister. What challenges do you and your committee members face? Our biggest challenge is finding a number of events that appeal to Advance Team members nationwide. Our membership represents a broad base of interests and skills, and we want to make sure that each of us has the opportunity to be as effective as possible, while enjoying the experience as well. What makes you most proud to be a member of the Advance Team? M. D. Anderson is renowned as the premier cancer center because of the people who work there, the care they provide patients from all over the world and the cuttingedge research they conduct every day. I m honored to be associated with such a winner!
12 Spring 2008 A publication for friends of The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center Development Office - Unit 705 P.O. Box Houston, TX Non Profit Organization US Postage PAID Houston Texas Permit No Address Service Requested Save These Dates! April 6: Dr. Marnie Rose Foundation Run for the Rose Houston April 8: Advance Team Annual Meeting Houston May 3: Polo on the Prairie Albany, Texas May 9: Shooting Down Cancer Houston May 10: Simon Giving Card Launch Houston, Austin, Dallas, San Antonio June 18: Ethel Fleming Arceneaux Outstanding Nurse-Oncologist Award Presentation Houston July 16 - Aug. 4: Divas for a Cure Cross-Country Breast Cancer Motorcycle Run Oct. 20: Young Texans Against Cancer Golf Tournament Houston Oct. 21: Marit Liv Peterson Melanoma Research Golf Fundraiser Richardson, Texas Nov. 1: Rexanna s Foundation for Fighting Lung Cancer Gala Austin Please change my name or address. I received a duplicate copy. Please make the necessary correction. Please remove my name from the Promise mailing list. Please check the appropriate box and return this page to the address above. For more information, please visit or call Board Member Update Board members across the nation helped raise more than $1 million through A Conversation With a Living Legend events in Houston and Washington, D.C. The two fundraisers united dynamic volunteers and outstanding supporters with a common goal of supporting vital programs at M. D. Anderson. Hanks Makes Washington, D.C., Appearance The November 2007 A Conversation With a Living Legend in Washington, D.C., originally slated former U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson and Bob Schieffer, CBS News chief Washington correspondent and moderator of Face the Nation. Following heart transplant surgery, however, Wilson was unable to travel from his home in East Texas. In true collaborative spirit Tom Hanks, who plays Wilson in Universal Pictures Charlie Wilson s War, stepped in for Wilson. Tom Hanks, star of Charlie Wilson s War, talks one-on-one with Bob Schieffer, right, at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. Hanks and Schieffer spoke to an audience of 400, including dozens of former congressmen as well as M. D. Anderson cancer patients and friends. M. D. Anderson supporters Beth and Wayne Gibbens, Janice and George Kettle, Nancy and Tom Loeffler, Donna and Mack McLarty, Marlene and Fred Malek and Cecile and Billy Tauzin chaired the event, which raised more than $600,000. Wilson was a U.S. naval officer and Democratic U.S. congressman from the 2 nd Congressional District in Texas. He s known for leading Congress in supporting the largest CIA covert operation to supply the Afghan mujahideen during the Soviet-Afghan War. Oscar winners Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Philip Seymour Hoffman teamed with Academy Award - winning director Mike Nichols and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin to bring George Crile s best-selling book to the screen. Lansing Headlines Houston Event Co-chairs Patsy and Greg Fourticq, Barbara and Charles Hurwitz, Joan Schnitzer Levy and Irvin Levy and Beth Sanders Moore and Jess Moore provided extraordinary leadership for Houston s first A Conversation With a Living Legend. Sponsored by the Ellwood Foundation, the December 2007 event at the Hilton Americas-Houston welcomed ABC news veteran Sam Donaldson and Sherry Lansing, CEO and founder of the Sherry Lansing Foundation, former CEO and chairman of Paramount Pictures and a cancer research advocate who recently Sherry Lansing and Sam Donaldson, flanked by A Conversation With a Living Legend chairs, from left, Patsy Fourticq, Barbara Hurwitz, Joan Schitzer Levy and Beth Sanders Moore, pause before taking the stage at the Hilton Americas-Houston. received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. Under Lansing s leadership, three of Paramount s pictures won the Academy Award for Best Picture Forrest Gump (1994), Braveheart (1995) and the highest-grossing movie of all time, Titanic (1997). Former Houston ABC news anchor Shara Fryer emceed the event, which attracted an attendance of 700 and raised $515,000. DeDe DeStefano