Sunday April 14, 2013

We had a wonderful night last night at the Bassmasters event, helping raise money for St. Jude and the Shannon O'Hara Foundation.  It was great to have some familiar faces in the crowd as Dan spoke and I read from the book.  Erin got in on the act, too, helping us draw some raffle winners and stepping up to the podium to read the names.  Her poise and presence makes us so proud.

St. Jude is an amazing place, and after we spoke a mother and her beautiful, bald-headed boy took the stage and shared their story.  Through tears, the mother told how, even though they haven't been to the hospital in Memphis, St. Jude saved her boy's life.  Research done at St. Jude and the protocol they developed for his type of tumor is shared with other research hospitals and is being used right here at the Mayo Clinic.  So, this family could stay local and still benefit from the advancements made in Memphis.  He is 9 months in remission.  Now that's a cool story.

Research at St. Jude was the theme of our story last night, too.  We had asked Dr. Wetmore for an update on Shannon's cells and we shared her note with last night's audience:

Shannon's cells are growing very well! They are now acclimated to a 384-well plate and we are screening compounds (like about 200,000 of them) to see what kills them.  We have a library of "compounds" - mostly drugs and anything with anti-cancer or cell activity.  We will then narrow down to the "hits" and do a dose response curve on them and identify some leads that may be taken to clinic.  Once we have identified some compounds that kill the DIPG cells in the dish we will move to mice and treat mice carrying tumor cells with the drug and make sure it works in vivo.  Then I will start negotiating with drug company to get the compound and start writing (another) protocol to bring it to clinical trial.  It will be exciting.  Shannon's gift lives on.  Really, its the best growing cell line that I have. 

We think that's a pretty cool story, too...