HELPING HAND R O B E R T
M A G G I E
B R A S
A N D
F A M I L Y
N E W
D R U G
D E V E L O P M E N T
WE THANK YOU
P R O G R A M
elcome to our third year one correlative studies coordinator; one laboratory and one and third edition of pharmacist; and two research personnel. WOW!! And we “Helping Hand”. To those are growing. The Bras Family program is now the largest of you who are being introduced to in Canada! our newsletter for the first time, let me introduce ourselves. The I am very happy to report that our new centre to house these Robert & Maggie Bras and Family amazing group of individuals, has opened! Our staff moved New Drug Development Program into their quarters on the 5th floor of PMH, in the autumn of came into being February 2001. 2005, with much relief and excitement. Relief that they were Robert Bras, my husband, was finally all together in one centre, and excited and in awe of being treated for Prostate and Gallbladder Cancer at Toronto their new digs, all designed by Gluckstein Design. Our new General Hospital and Princess Margaret Hospital, part of centre will be officially opened this May 25, 2006. the University Health Network – (UHN). From time to time he received care from Toronto Western Hospital (UHN) and We have held three golf tournaments and a whopping Mount Sinai Hospital. Robert’s care was exemplary and the $360,000 in total raised, with our fourth tournament to be dedication of the doctors, nurses, clinicians, pharmacists held this July 10, 2006 at The Summit Golf and Country Club. Our tournaments have been filled to capacity each and staff was tops! year, and knock on wood, the sun always shines! Do come Our family felt a desire to ‘give-back’. We asked ourselves and join us for a fun filled day of golf for a wonderful cause. what institution we should give to and what form this giving Our website has been up and running for one full year in which should take. We knew the reasons why we were giving! we include past newsletters and events, recent and upcoming After considering all the options, we decided to create events. A new link has recently been added to access our new an endowment for a new drug development program at drug trials underway. Please click on to Princess Margaret Princess Margaret Hospital, Canada’s largest cancer facility. Hospital - Bras New Drug Development Program. This The program’s director was Dr Malcolm Moore – who was information is for doctors; clinicians; patients and donors. Robert’s primary care giver. The Robert & Maggie Bras and Our website is – www.brasfamily.com. Family New Drug Development Program was on its feet with an amazing group of members all dedicated to fighting this I am again and again reminded why we, The Bras Family insidious disease. Our program provides an opportunity for are continuing and endeavoring to raise funds along with people with cancer to access new and innovative treatments, our faithful donors to fight this insidious disease – cancer. with the development of phase I and phase II trials. We Not only do I reflect on the life and passing of my husband currently operate 12 sites in Canada and the United States – Robert, but continue to do battle for the many family and and in conducting these trials, offer hope and a promise friends that are fighting this disease and for the few that that we are well on our way to providing drugs that are less have lost the battle. We fight for the people that we will never meet, who watch as their families are torn apart by this invasive to the body. disease. The pictures that can be painted are endless and Our staff are comprised of one director and three co-directors, offen heart-breaking. three administrative staff; one biostatistician; three clinical assistants; seventeen clinical study coordinators; one clinical Please walk this road with me and the Bras Family, in giving associate; four clinical fellows; eight clinical trial nurses; generously to help us fight this battle that needs to be won! “ No person was ever honoured for what he received. Honour has been the reward for what he gave.” - Calvin Coolidge
WE THANK YOU CONTINUED... You can join in this partnership in developing Phase I and Phase II trials that give HOPE to all who suffer and will suffer cancer. With my heartfelt thanks,
Maggie Bras President www.brasfamily.com
MESSAGE FROM PAUL ALOFS
feel tremendous hope when I observe the work under way at The Robert & Maggie Bras and Family New Drug Development Program and talk to patients already participating in more than 80 clinical trials going on. This program embodies the very essence of hope that defines Princess Margaret Hospital. So when I think about Princess Margaret Hospital, I think about hope. Hope is something we all possess. It is one of the finest attributes of the human condition. And it’s been around for a long time. The ancient Romans said: “While there’s life, there’s hope.” Albert Einstein said: “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.” And Helen Keller described it this way: “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope or confidence.” Princess Margaret Hospital is a place where hope lives. When it began more than 50 years ago, it was an 87-bed hospital on Sherbourne Street. Ten years ago, it relocated to 610 University Ave. Today, it is one of the world’s great cancer centres with more than 1,000 researchers, trainees and staff working every day to help conquer cancer. Many hopeful “firsts” have happened right here: • the first identification of the stem cell, which forms the basis of all current stem call research, by PMH researchers Drs. Ernest McCulloch and James Till • the landmark cloning of the T cell receptor genes, a key component of the human immune system, by Dr.
Tak Mak, now the Director of The Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research at PMH • the discovery of the PTEN gene, whose mutation is linked to several cancers including brain, ovarian, breast, prostate, thyroid and skin • the invention of the Cobalt machine, the root technology of many radiation therapy machines still in use today, by PMH’s Dr. Harold Johns • the first bone marrow transplant unit in Canada to perform transplants between unrelated donors • the first hospital to use digital mammography – an x-ray machine that takes a digital image of the breast – enabling earlier diagnosis of breast cancer with less radiation exposure • the first Canadian clinical trials using light therapy and a light-activated drug to target tumours and avoid damage to healthy tissue But the true measure of hope at PMH can be found in the eyes of every individual you encounter from the moment you walk through the doors -- patients, families, friends and staff. It can be found in the tireless efforts from magnificent volunteers like Maggie Bras whose leadership and initiative inspires us all. When I joined The Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation, I spent the first month working full-time as a volunteer in the hospital. I know firsthand that there is no place like it, in terms of spirit, caring and commitment to reach our goal to conquer cancer once and for all. And that is what our hope is all about.
Paul Alofs President & CEO The Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation
“Hope is a waking dream.” - Aristotle
GREETINGS FROM THE MAYOR OF MISSISSAUGA
s the Honorary Chair of the Robert & Maggie Bras and Family New Drug Development Program, I am pleased to extend greetings to the readers of the “Helping Hand” newsletter.
The pursuit of new pharmaceuticals through research and development is important to society. For the many patients experiencing an uphill battle due to illness, new drugs can offer hope. Through the partnership with Princess Margaret Hospital, the New Drug Development Program is sure to produce excellent results for patients and the health care community. The stories told by cancer patients are moving. They show the
true spirit of determination and perseverance. The Robert & Maggie Bras and Family New Drug Development Program has adopted the “never give up” attitude in pursuing new drug treatments to fight cancer. I find this attitude inspiring and I well know that there will be many successes in the future. Once again, I hope that this newsletter inspires you to continue your support of the Robert & Maggie Bras and Family New Drug Development Program. Sincerely,
Hazel McCallion, C.M. Mayor
GREETINGS FROM THE PRINCESS MARGARET HOSPITAL FOUNDATION
can remember, back in 2002, when Robert, Maggie and family were still considering their very generous donation to establish the Robert & Maggie Bras and Family New Drug Development Program. We were so thrilled when they finalized their commitment and the Program began.
Who could have imagined the wonderful developments that have taken place since as a result of their generosity? This gift has created a profound legacy for Robert. The continued involvement of Maggie and family is a true testament to their commitment.
Through the Bras program, PMH now leads a 13-site clinical trails research consortium, funded in part by the National Institute of Health. In addition, the Bras Program provides advanced training for an increasing number of physicians who are leaders in the development of new drugs. The new offices allow all the staff associated with these important initiatives to be housed in one space, providing an exciting, synergistic environment. I want to especially thank Maggie and family for their enthusiastic, ongoing commitment and involvement with the Bras Program. Through the Advisory Committee, the annual golf tournament and in many other ways, their keen interest shines through. Maggie has been especially interested in helping us secure gifts from pharmaceutical companies for the Bras Program. Our first major success was with Hoffman LaRoche Canada and we have a meeting with another major company this month.
As a result of the Bras Program, the number of new drugs in clinical trials at Princess Margaret Hospital and the number of PMH patients in trials has increased dramatically. This is of great benefit to cancer patients, especially as some of the new therapies are being introduced into routine clinical practice.
Thank you to all the donors and staff who have made the Bras Program a world leader. Cancer patients and their loved ones have new hope as a result of your dedicated efforts.
At this writing, we are looking forward to the official opening of the Robert & Maggie Bras and Family New Drug Development Administrative Offices on May 25. Thank you to Maggie, Brian Gluckstein and Dr. Malcolm Moore for their leadership in creating this beautiful new facility.
Greg Lichti Director, Major Gifts Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation
“We are rich only through what we give; and poor only through what we refuse and keep.” - Annie Swetchine
MESSAGE FROM PHILIP ORSINO
t University Health Network, we are proud of the many initiatives that help us realize our vision of achieving global impact. One superb example is the Robert & Maggie Bras and Family New Drug Development Program at Princess Margaret Hospital.
Thanks to the tremendous resolve and support of volunteers like Maggie Bras and many others, cancer patients are at the forefront of leading research into new drug development that may lead to a cure.
On behalf of our remarkable institution, I would like to commend Maggie for her tireless efforts as we strive to advance the research that will deliver new treatments – and new hope – for cancer patients. Sincerely,
Philip Orsino, F.C.A., O.C. Chairman Board of Trustees University Health Network
HOW VALUABLE IS THE ONTARIO HEALTHCARE SYSTEM?
ntario citizens have never been more concerned about their healthcare system. It seems that every story about the system suggests that healthcare is broken -- that patients cannot get surgery, get access to CT scans or MRIs and may not be able to find the care they need when they need it. Concern has reached the point that Canadians are actually talking about the need for private care (paid by private insurance or out of pocket). Canadians’ commitment to publicly funded Medicare is a defining feature of our society and it is concerning that worries about access have changed the way that Canadians think about health. In considering the value of our public system, it is important to realize that the entire Western world is having trouble providing access to care for the expanded treatment options now in demand by our aging population. Fifteen years ago, 80-year-olds were considered too old to undergo hip replacement. Today, 80-year-olds routinely demand hip replacement to stay on the golf course. Current investments in expanding access to care will make an impact on waiting times without necessitating a private care system. And there is another reason as well for improving (rather than eliminating) our one payer system.
for retired workers and their dependents. Much of the recent investment in the Ontario economy by automobile assembly and car parts companies relates to the cost savings provided by our health insurance system. Our health system is a competitive advantage for Ontario and one of the features of our society (along with our education system) which makes our economy strong. But if this system is going to thrive and improve, it is critical that Ontario citizens are willing to invest in health. This investment is not required in the direct care part of health; our tax dollars will do that. Your investment is needed for our “Research and Development” Programs, which is the type of activity supported by the Bras Family New Drug Development Centre. The Bras Family Centre is critical for us to bring new treatments to our patients, increasing our chances to conquer cancer. We need your help to find new treatments in order to keep our system healthy. That system is important to your health and also the health of the Ontario economy.
Robert Bell, MDCM, MSc, FACS, FRCS President and CEO, University Health Network Professor, Department of Surgery, Division of Orthopedics, University of Toronto
This reason relates to the competitive advantage provided to the Ontario economy by our current one payer system. We have all read stories recently about American industrial companies forced into bankruptcy by high healthcare insurance costs -- not just for their current workers but also “ He who has health, has hope; and he who has hope, has everything.” - Arabian Proverb
THIS IS WHO WE ARE ! The Robert & Maggie Bras and Family New Drug Development Program
he past year has been an treatments that change the standards of care is the ultimate exacting and exciting time validation of a new drug. We continue to work closely with for our Drug Development our colleagues from NCIC Clinical Trials Group, which has Program (DDP). We have had led many major Phase III trials that have established new many successes to be proud of and and improved treatments for many cancers. Some recent new challenges to keep us focused. studies that have changed the standard of care for different The primary focus of the DDP cancers and have had principal investigators from PMH is early phase clinical trials and Malcolm Moore (Erlotinib in Pancreatic Cancer), Frances conducting clinical trials properly Shepherd (Erlotinib in Lung Cancer) and Warren Mason is an exacting science that has to (Temozolomide and radiation in Brain Tumours). These be matched with efficient management and administration. studies have had and continue to have a major impact on Introducing a new agent into the clinical arena starts with countless patients across the world. first-in-man studies of new drugs or combinations (Phase I). These are highly specialized and intense studies that need to We continue to diversify into newer areas, and in 2005, DDP, be conducted very carefully, looking for tolerability, toxicity UHN and Universities of Toronto and Waterloo facilitated the and perhaps very early hints of activity. Phase II studies take establishment of a new Centre for Mathematical Medicine at doses and schedules established in Phase I and formally The Fields Institute for Mathematical Sciences, in Toronto. evaluate in specific cancers. At present, our DDP has a very The goal of this Centre is to bring together researchers from large portfolio of Phase I and II studies and we are being medicine and mathematics to focus on medical challenges. increasingly recognized as a major centre nationally and Currently, it has several cancer and drug therapy projects in internationally. Our Phase I program is currently running collaboration with DDP. about 20 different studies with very new, exciting and often challenging agents to develop. This is the largest portfolio Our fellowship program continues to thrive, with five full by far in Canada and has grown to be one of the biggest time fellows as well as many others who undertake research programs internationally, under the stewardship of Lillian projects with DDP senior staff. Our fellowship program has been generously supported by grants and funding from Siu. Roche, OCRN, and Bayer. Lillian Siu, our fellowship director The Phase II program continues to expand, and currently has re-organized the program with regular teaching sessions, has a menu of about 40 studies in different types of cancers. project assignment, journal clubs and presentations. Many The backbone of the program is our contract with the US of our fellows regularly present their work at international NCI for innovative Phase II studies. We successfully re- meetings. Carol Townsley, who has been promoted from competed for a new contract for US $7.5million for another 5 Fellow to Research Associate was recently awarded an ASCO years, starting January 2006, in a very competitive selection Young Investigator Award, and this will be presented to her process. We remain one of only 9 such contract holders in in Atlanta in June 2006. We held our first fellows retreat in North America, and the only site outside the US. Our PMH June 2005 in Niagara, and this was a tremendous success; Consortium sites, with whom we conduct clinical trials, have the second one is planned for Toronto in June 2006. grown in number from 3 to 12 (See Figure), including two sites in the US. The program functions very well, and has The strength of the DDP is in its people, and their hard work allowed lots of novel anticancer drugs to be used in Canada, and dedication has to be acknowledged â€“ Pam Degendorfer, our Program Manager, Assistant Managers, Shirley Brown many for the very first time. and Robin Cheiken, our dedicated and knowledgeable The translation and understanding of molecular aberrations clinical research associates, administrative assistants who in cancer cells also remains a major focus for our program. work tirelessly, Maryke Abbott who administers and mothers The molecular studies we have undertaken have in their own the whole group, research fellows who rejuvenate the group right led to new insights into the mechanism of disease and and trials nurses who enliven it. The senior leadership drug action. This translational program has also received a support for our program from Bob Bell, Chris Paige, Mary boost with a major $2million grant from the Ontario Cancer Gospodarowicz and Paul Alofs has been constant and Research Network to create and enhance our translational allowed to thrive. The constant enthusiasm and support of the Bras Family Advisory committee, particularly Maggie network. Bras and Mayor Hazel McCallion continue to inspire the Translating the results of early phase clinical trials into group to tackle new challenges.
THIS IS WHO WE ARE ! CONTINUED... I believe we have the largest and best early phase new drug I know I speak for all my senior colleagues and the entire development program for cancer in Canada, and one of the DDP team when I say Thank You Maggie!! best internationally. We continue to expand our horizons and specific goals for this year are to create a dedicated inpatient unit for early phase clinical trials and apply for a NCI Phase I contract and forge partnerships for drug development with Pharma. We saw major successes in 2005/6 with long term peer reviewed contracts and grants for over $10 million. However, these accomplishments pale in comparison with the Amit Oza, MD, FRCP (UK) real successes we see – in the clinic – for example, patients Co-Director, The Robert & Maggie Bras and Family like Dr. Annie Smith, who was on one of our trials for over a New Drug Development Program year. Our real challenge and motivator is to ensure that we Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, U of T Senior Staff Physician, see this type of success with increasing frequency. Department of Medical Oncology & Haematology We have a tremendous team and the collegial working Co-Chair, The Field’s Institute, atmosphere for the group has been enhanced by our Centre for Mathematical Science fantastic new space. PMH and DDP are special. Figure 1: PMH Phase II Consortium Structure
PI: Dr. Amit Oza Co-Investigator: Dr. Malcolm J. Moore Co-Investigator: Dr. Lillian L. Siu
COMET Community Linkage Program
CHUM McGill Roswell Park
Hamilton - Juravinski Cancer Centre Dr. Hal Hirte
Fox Chase Cancer Center Dr. Gary Hudes
British Columbia Cancer Agency Dr. Kim Chi
London Regional Cancer Program Dr. Eric Winquist
The Ottawa Hospital Regional Cancer Centre Dr. Glen Goss
Toronto Sunnybrook Regional Cancer Centre Dr. Kathleen Pritchard
Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario - Kingston Dr. Tara Baetz
Nova Scotia Cancer Centre Dr. Daniel Rayson
Cross Cancer Institute Dr. Peter Venner
“If there be any truer measure of a man than by what he does, it must be by what he gives.” - Robert South
he Drug Development Program at PMH has grown rapidly since it began in 2001. This growth has allowed patients, especially patients in Canada, to have increased access to innovative investigational drug trials. Patient accrual has also been growing every year. Strong physician leadership has been key to the success of the program. Another critical factor in the success of DDP is the comprehensive and talented team of staff that work often behind the scenes to make sure trials are available for patients.
Patients require specialized and comprehensive nursing care when participating in clinical trials, clinical study coordinators ensure clinical trials receive the required
The Robert & Maggie Bras and Family New Drug Development Program provides an opportunity for people with cancer to access new and innovative treatments. Shirley, our assistant manager explains, “my position as Study Coordinator facilitates the running of the trials, from study start up to closure and publication. When I first started we worked in vacant patient rooms and many of the coordinators worked in very cramped conditions. Other team members were in different parts of the hospital and communication was often difficult. Now we have a whole new department with individual cubicles and contemporary furnishings and decor. Sunlight streams in from all directions. Having all the coordinators working together along with the physicians and support staff is saving time and making the work environment
approvals to open in Canada and that the data is of high so much more efficient. Thank you Maggie and family - the quality, pharmacists are involved to ensure drugs are given space that you have created for us is remarkable!” safely and statisticians analyze patient data to determine how well the new drug works and how safe it is. Newly qualified Nisha Natarajan, one of our coordinators sums it up for us medical oncologists, or fellows, are attracted to the Drug “The new location of the Bras Drug Development Department Development Program because they get the opportunity to with its great atrium is an invigorating and stimulating environment. The best part is having all the researchers, learn how to develop and run their own clinical trials. physicians, fellows and study coordinators together, which Clinical study coordinators work on all the regulatory has enhanced the team-based culture and made functioning approvals and ensure they are obtained as quickly as possible of the department seamless. It is a great place to come to so that trials can be opened and offered to patients in many every morning.” Nisha goes on to say “having practised sites across Canada. They ensure that all our trials meet the clinical medicine for over 10 years in India, I was keen to highest level of safety and abide by all regulations. Clinical have a career related to the medical sciences in the field of study coordinators ensure that all the data coming in from drug development when I immigrated to Canada in 2004. I trials is monitored for the highest possible level of quality am privileged to be with the Drug Development Program in and is complete so that we can answer the questions the trial PMH. The greatest reward is knowing that the work we do will benefit countless people whom we’ll never meet”. is designed to determine.
“Of all the varieties of virtue, liberality is the most beloved.” - Aristotle
OUR TEAM CONTINUED... Our clinical trials nurses make sure that patients understand the trial and feel comfortable participating. They organize and schedule all the treatments and tests, talk to the patient and examine the patient and make sure that all treatment related effects are carefully documented so that a complete understanding of the new drug is obtained.
present in cancerous cells as opposed to normal cells, and because of this they are much less toxic and better tolerated by patients. Presently, there are many new agents entering early phase trials and that’s why it’s important to have a team of expert researchers as well as health professionals in a program such as ours.”
“It has been an absolute pleasure and privilege to care for cancer patients on clinical trials”, says Sheila Webster, team leader for our clinical nurses. “To be able to offer patients a treatment option that they would not normally have available is extremely rewarding. To be able to tell a patient and their family that they have responded well to a new drug… it doesn’t get any better than that.” Sheila believes the Drug Development Program is a group of people that truly want to make a difference in patient’s lives.
Dr. Stephen Welch joined the DDP in July 2005 as a clinical fellow, after completing his internal medicine and oncology training in Winnipeg, MB and London, ON. Dr. Welch explains “DDP has afforded me an incredible opportunity as a young clinical investigator to gain practical experience in how to develop oncology clinical trials from “square one”. He feels our new workspace brings the study co-ordinators and physicians together in a work-friendly environment and is a valuable asset to the program. As a newly qualified medical oncologist, he is one of several fellows helping develop new trials in DDP that will give patients a chance to try new drugs, or new drug combinations. These fellows learn more about research so that they can become leaders of their own trials when they become staff physicians and take their research experience to other sites in Canada.
Carefully preparing the investigational drugs is the responsibility of the clinical trials pharmacist. Our pharmacist, Jane Nagai, is a key member of our team and helps staff and patients understand possible interactions between the new drug and any other medications. Jane recalls “I have seen the progress of chemotherapy over the last quarter century. There was not much change in the first 20 years or so where we kept giving different combinations of traditional toxic chemotherapy drugs to our patients. However, we’ve entered a new era over the past 5 years and we’re seeing an exciting shift in the drugs entering cancer trials. These new agents tend to target specific aberrant proteins that are
We are very proud to be a part of a team of professionals all working together to cure cancer. Clinical trials often help and prolong the lives of thousands of people with cancer, and we find it very meaningful and rewarding to be part of the process.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2005
he Robert & Maggie Bras and Family New Drug in awe of our space, and was taking what he saw back to his Development Program’s Annual Lecture for 2005 ‘boss’ at Johns Hopkins University! was rewarded with standing room only!! We had the distinct pleasure of enjoying as our speaker – Dr. Manuel All in all, it was again, another stimulating lecture and one Hidalgo, Associate Professor at John’s Hopkins University. that we will continue year after year, with the likes of Dr. The title of his lecture was: “Practical Applications of Hidalgo. We thank you Dr. Hidalgo! Biological Correlative Studies in Drug Development”. It was an informative, enriching, and again, well attended event with the Bras plaque being presented to Dr. Hidalgo, after a speech by Dr. Malcolm Moore. Maggie Bras A reception followed at the 5th floor staff lounge, with a tour President of the offices of The Bras Drug Program. Dr. Hidalgo was www.brasfamily.com
“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” - Acts 20:35
STAFF PROFILE -
MALCOLM J. MOORE, MD, FRCPC
r. Malcolm Moore is a Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology in the Department of Medical Oncology and Haematology at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH), University of Toronto and a Senior Scientist in the Division of Experimental Therapeutics at the Ontario Cancer Institute.
Dr. Moore’s original area of study was in the field of mathematics and he completed an honours mathematics program at the University of Waterloo, focusing on statistics and computer science. A summer job in the university lab inspired him to switch to a career in the medical profession, receiving his MD from the University of Western Ontario in London in 1980. He then completed his postgraduate training in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology at the University of Toronto in 1986. Dr. Moore has had a successful and active career with numerous local, national and international honours. Most recently, he was appointed the leader of the Genitourinary Committee of the American Society of Clinical Oncology for 2006/2007. He was the Vivian Saykaly Visiting Professor in Medical Oncology at McGill University, Montreal, March, 2005. In July, 2005, he was appointed as the Chief of Medical Services at Princess Margaret Hospital.
Dr Moore’s major interest over the past 10 years has been innovative drug development for cancer therapy. He has been a principal investigator for many Phase I, II and III studies in gastrointestinal and genitourinary cancer. He has also been instrumental in the development of a number of agents that have subsequently been approved for clinical usage such as mitoxantrone in hormone refractory prostate cancer, and gemcitabine in both pancreatic and urothelial cancer. More recently, Dr Moore was the Principal Investigator of an NCIC CTG Phase III study demonstrating that the addition of Tarceva to gemcitabine improves survival in patients with pancreatic cancer. This is the first study to show a benefit for any drug in combination with gemcitabine in pancreatic cancer, and has lead to approval for use of Tarceva in this disease. Dr. Moore has over 130 peer reviewed publications, 19 book chapters and has given over 180 invited lectures worldwide. He also is the principal investigator and co-investigator on grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Canadian Institute of Health Research and the Ontario Cancer Research Network. Dr. Moore is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology Program Committee [ASCO] and is also a media spokesperson for that organization. He was selected for a keynote presentation at the ASCO annual meeting in June, 2006, and will Chair a session on “Novel Targets in Prostate Cancer” at this conference. Dr. Moore is greatly appreciative of the support provided to the Program by the Bras family and other donors, as well as the ongoing support of the PMH Foundation and administration.
In 2001, Dr Moore became the Director of the Robert & “Our new space allows us all to work together on our mission Maggie Bras and Family New Drug Development Program to develop better cancer treatments in a wonderful setting. at PMH and a principal investigator in the PMH Phase II The support of the Bras Family has made our dream a reality Consortium; a PMH based alliance cancer centres that won and we are eternally grateful.” a contract with NCI ensuring access to new NCI anti-cancer drugs. The Bras Family Program has grown tremendously over the last 5 years and is now the largest in Canada. The Consortium currently incorporates 12 sites, 9 in Canada and 2 in the United States, including Fox Chase Cancer Malcolm Moore PhD, MD, FRCP (C) Center in Philadelphia, and Roswell Park Cancer Institute KY Ho Chair in Prostate Cancer Research Director, Robert & Maggie Bras and Family in Buffalo. New Drug Development Program Dr. Moore also serves as the Chair of the GI committee Senior Scientist, for National Cancer Institute of Canada [NCIC] and an Division of Enperimental Therapeutics, OCI Executive Member of the North American GI Intergroup, as Professor, Department Medicine & Pharmacology well as an Executive Member of the NCIC Investigational University of Toronto New Drug Committee. In 2002 he was granted the Ho Chair Acting Chief, Medical Services for New Drug Development in Prostate Cancer at Princess Princess Margaret Hospital Margaret Hospital, UHN. “Nothing comes easy that is done well.” - Harry F. Banks
STAFF PROFILE -
LILLIAN SIU, MD, FRCP (C)
r. Lillian Siu is a staff physician in the Department of Medical Oncology and Hematology at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) since 1998, and is an associate professor at the University of Toronto. She graduated from the University of Toronto, Faculty of Medicine, in 1991. After her residency in Medical Oncology at PMH, she completed Drug Development Fellowships at PMH and at the University of Texas Science Center, San Antonio. Dr. Siuâ€™s major research focus is in the area of new anticancer drug development, particularly with respect to head and neck and gastrointestinal malignancies. She is the Associate Director of the Drug Development Program at PMH, and is principal investigator of many phase I, II and III trials supported by NCI, NCIC and the pharmaceutical industry. She is the principal investigator of a peer-reviewed grant supported by the Ontario Cancer Research Network to evaluate the safety and efficacy of cytotoxic T-lymphocytes in nasopharyngeal cancer. Dr. Siu is a co-investigator of multiple peer-reviewed grants including a $9-million Research Hospital Fund for drug discovery in Canada. Dr. Siu is the recipient of numerous awards, such as the Elsie Winifred Crann Award at the University of Toronto in 2001, and Teaching Awards in the Medical Oncology Residency Program for the last six consecutive years. Nationally, Dr. Siu is the co-chair of the NCIC CTG Data Safety Monitoring Committee. Internationally, Dr. Siu is a member of the 2002-2003 AACR International Membership Committee, the 2002-2004 ASCO Head and Neck Cancer Scientific Program Committee, and the 2003-2005 EORTC Protocol Review Committee. Dr. Siu has a strong background in clinical trial methodology and has been a member of the Program Committees for both the FECS/ASCO/AACR workshop in Flims, Switzerland, and the AACR/ASCO workshop in Vail, Colorado, for the past few years. Both workshops focus on the training of young researchers in clinical cancer research methods.
Dr. Siu has published over 50 peer-reviewed manuscripts in journals, including Journal of Clinical Oncology and Clinical Cancer Research. She is on the Editorial Board of Investigational New Drugs and Journal of Clinical Oncology. Dr. Siu is Director of the Phase I Program and Co-Director of the Robert & Maggie Bras and Family New Drug Development Program at PMH.
Lillan Siu, MD, FRCP (C) Co-Director, The Robert & Maggie Bras and Family New Drug Development Program Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, U of T Senior Staff Physician, Department of Medical Oncology & Hematology
STAFF PROFILE -
PAMELA DEGENDORFER, MA, CCRP
amela Degendorfer is the manager of The Robert & Maggie Bras and Family New Drug Development Program. Pam has been with the program since its inception in February of 2001. After graduating with a Masters Degree from the University of Toronto, Pam began her career at Princess Margaret Hospital in the Biostatistics department. She was recruited to the Drug Development Program in 2001. Recently Pam completed the University Health Network-Rotman Leadership Development Program. Pam has worked with a variety of sponsors including pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology companies and the National Cancer Institute in both the United States and Canada. The Robert & Maggie Bras and Family New Drug Development Program promotes a multi-centre, collaborative approach to oncology clinical trials and is strategically designed to ensure the rapid completion of high quality studies. Pam has been involved with over 190 oncology clinical trials and manages a large number of staff who coordinate these trials. DDP acts as sponsor for many of their trials and Pam has developed and implemented centralized trial management processes for over 50 trials in 12 national and international sites. “Building collaborative relationships with investigators, sponsors, nurses and laboratory staff at our site and subcontract sites has been critical to the success of our program.” Pam says “I am proud that we have been able to do this with such success”. As manager of the DDP, Pam developed Standard Operating Procedures for the department and participated in the Ontario Cancer Research Network Standard Operating Procedures committee as well as being a facilitator in a province wide training program for the Ontario Cancer Research Network. Pam was a member of the University Health Network Oncology Research Ethics Board and has
been a certified member of the Society of Clinical Research Professionals since 2001. Recently the department was able to move into a larger space designed specially for DDP. Pam states “ Moving to the wonderful new space that the Robert & Maggie Bras and Family New Drug Development Program has created for us has been a fabulous experience. To see everyone together in one area has been our goal for a long time. It affords us so many opportunities to work more closely together.”
Pamela Degendorfer, MA, CCRP Administrator, The Robert & Maggie Bras Family New Drug Development Program
THE ROBERT BRAS AND FAMILY CHARITY GOLF TOURNAMENT - 2005 To our title sponsors….wow, you keep coming on board year after year to support this wonderful cause in Robert’s name. To our live auction donors and our silent auction donors, a big thank you! Bravo for all you do in the world of cancer. I am very pleased to announce that this year’s tournament surpassed the last one which in turn surpassed the previous. We raised a whopping $125,000! In total, our three tournaments have raised $360,000!
t was another stellar day at The Summit Golf and Country Club this past July 11, 2005! We had a full house of golfers again, on a spectacular and extremely hot sunny day.
On behalf of The Bras Family and the Bras New Drug Development Program, I wish to thank all those who made this day possible. I would also like to thank those who came out to play a round of golf on this spectacular course, and to keeping our dream alive! Our volunteers went to great lengths to make everyone’s day as pleasant and efficient as possible. I thank them from the bottom of my heart. The staff of the Summit Golf and Country Club, once again, were incredibly courteous and accommodating and I also wish to thank them.
On behalf of cancer patients and Princess Margaret Hospital, I wish to invite you to once again join The Bras Family on Monday, July 10, 2006, for a fun filled day of lunch, golf, gifts, cocktails, dinner and a great selection of silent and live auction items. A world famous individual will speak at our dinner and one does not wish to miss this! We look forward to seeing you on Monday, July 10, 2006.
Maggie Bras President www.brasfamily.com
“ Happiness is not so much in having or sharing. We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” - Norman MacEwan
LIVE AUCTION CHARITY DINNER DECEMBER 9, 2005
he Third Annual Robert Bras & Family Charity Golf Tournament live auction item of 2005 – dining with the Bras Family, was purchased by the Lunau family. Twenty-two of Anne and Doug’s closest friends and relatives attended, with Mayor Hazel McCallion as their honorary guest.
Toula Dining (Toronto) Ltd., generously donated the most extraordinary dining experience, along with Mr. Franco Prevedello’s wines to accompany each and every course. Mr. Luca Viscardi the owner of Toula’s along with General Manager Adriano Vicentini and Chef Pino Padula and Sous Chef, Paolo Vicentini, put on a culinary show of delight with the palate wishing for more. Each and every wine we savored, was explained in detail by Franco. Seated at the grand piano was a wonderful young student musician, who attends The Glenn Gould School of Music of the Royal Conservatory of Music – Mr. Patrick Cashin. His delightful pieces along with his very personable demeanor
added the special touch of celebration to our evening’s event. The Bras condo adorned with white candles and flowers, along with a very real Christmas tree on the terrace - white lights twinkling in the night, made for a very festive holiday event. On behalf of Princess Margaret Hospital; The Robert & Maggie Bras and Family New Drug Development Program, and The Third Annual Robert Bras & Family Charity Golf Tournament, I wish to thank Anne and Doug Lunau for their generosity, in their bidding of $14,000 for this dinner, of which each and every cent went towards our program! It was an evening to remember! Maggie Bras President
“ Thank the Lord that you can give, instead of depending on others to give to you.” - Anonymous
LA ROCHE RECEPTION
A PERSONAL LEGACY
o give away money is an easy matter, and in any man’s power. But to decide to whom to give, and how large and when, and for what purpose and how, is neither in every man’s power nor an easy matter.” - Aristotle Aristotle, of course, was talking about “philanthropy,” a term that has come to mean more than “charitable giving.” Perhaps I should explain my use of these terms. Charitable giving provides immediate relief to a problem. It is personal and emotion-driven. All that is required is some money and a desire to give. There is no on-going relationship with the charitable organization or opportunity to influence the use of the funds. By contrast, philanthropy is a lengthy process aimed at permanent social change. It involves setting long-term goals, which can be achieved through rational and complex decisionmaking, along with diligent monitoring and assessment. This requires significant capital, vision, organization or expertise, and a long time horizon. As social problems become larger and more complex, and government funds shrink, charitable organizations are increasingly looking to the private sector for support. Donors, on the other hand, feel overwhelmed by the number of requests and frustrated by their inability to ensure that their gifts will make a difference. They have come to realize that they are no longer content to just make contributions to good causes. Increasingly donors - and this is particularly true of the baby boom generation – feel the need to get at the root causes of problems and even to effect change in public policy. In other words, they want to be involved in philanthropy rather than just charitable giving. Fortunately for all of us, many will have that opportunity. The leading edge of the baby boom generation, many of whom have achieved considerable success, are beginning to retire, and are looking to voluntary activity as a meaningful way to spend their time and resources. Furthermore, their resources or capacity to give will be greater than that of any previous generation. In the next 10 to 20 years, the baby boom generation will inherit about $1 trillion from the preSecond World War generation. Unlike the generation of savers before them, baby boomers are expected to spend quite readily, as well as to give to causes close to their hearts.
What motivates affluent Canadians to give? An Ipsos-Reid survey conducted in August 2004 identified seven major reasons people give. • To give back to the community. Most Canadians who have achieved financial success are grateful for the opportunities that they have had. Without some advantages – be it a good education or excellent health care or a vibrant local economy – they would not have been as successful. Now it’s time to express their appreciation by helping others in their community. • Altruism. Some of us will earn or inherit more money than our families need to live comfortably. Many believe that some, or even much, of this excess money should be used on societal needs rather than on more consumer goods. • Personal or family experience. A traumatic personal experience is often at the root of large donations or extensive commitment of time and energy to an issue. For example, the death of a beloved husband and father from cancer can motivate the family to support cancer research or clinical care. Or a highly successful entrepreneur, who struggled through university and feels indebted to his university professor who encouraged him, may endow a research chair in his alma mater. • Personal interest in a cause. Whether it’s a lifetime interest in the arts, or a particular environmental issue, or the problems of the homeless, additional free time and/or financial resources enable a person to pursue his particular passions. • Financial ability. Canadians are increasingly able to give generously. In addition to the significant intergenerational transfer of wealth mentioned above, the annual income for the top ten percent of working Canadians has increased 15 percent in the period 19902000 from $160,000 to $185,000. • Personal beliefs and values. For many people, their religious beliefs or personal morals dictate that they should be helping others who are less fortunate. • Tax incentives. In the late 1990s, there were changes in the tax legislation that encouraged more giving, such as: allowing gifts of assets other than only cash; increasing the donor’s tax credit; and reducing capital gains inclusion rate on gifts of appreciated marketable shares
to charitable organizations and public foundations Whatever the motivation for giving, donors today do try to heed Aristotle’s words. They put considerable effort into ensuring that their gifts not only reflect their values and passions but are structured to make a lasting impact on the causes important to them. After all, this will be part of their legacy to their community. Or to quote Winston Churchill:
“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” Marvi Ricker VP & Managing Director Philanthropic Services BMO Harris Private Banking
SAVAGE BEASTS AND LUCKY CHARMS
aulting orchestral melodies, visions of lions lying serenely down in mid-charge or herds of raging wildebeests communing peacefully with nurturing, maternal great apes, the phrase “music hath charms to soothe…” has always conjured up for me a slightly bent idea of the use of music’s power. I must admit that, during my many years of study and performing, it never once occurred to me to put it to the true “beast” test; to climb over an enclosure at the Toronto Zoo and see just how soothing a solo violin Partita by Bach might be to a disgruntled, metro-libidinous orangutan. Not once!
Now, as I get older, it is the sharing part that holds my fascination; and this is where the charmed power of music never ceases to amaze me – but not before one of my own private struggles.
That was a while ago. Now, I have the pleasure of administrating and teaching some of the finest young classical music talent in the world at The Glenn Gould School of The Royal Conservatory of Music, here in Toronto. It is truly an honour to work with these questing, passionate seekers of a uniquely personal gift and Holy Grail; their expressive voices. This quest is never easy or clearly defined; there are no blueprints for self-discovery. But it comes. Often, after great effort and struggle, it comes like a quiet knock on the door; a friend that never leaves again. It is so difficult to describe the elation we all feel at the School when that unique voice is found and celebrated…and shared! It is like a birth; the new life of a wondrous and freed imagination!
For some time I took this as a rebuke of music and its seeming ability to provide respite from sadness and strife. Where was this supposed power to sooth, to heal and strengthen? People seemed hardened against it. It took some time before I realized that music was rejected, not because of its failure to give uplift to the human spirit and condition, but precisely for the fact that its power was so great that it destroyed people’s abilities to protect themselves; it overwhelmed their senses and their defenses. In times of greatest sorrow and misery, people simply withdraw into themselves in order to survive. The suffering is too great.
One of my late night plagues is the question of music’s relevance and meaning. For example, does music really have significance today; the ability to uplift, nurture and heal; to communicate across cultures and change the world? Some years ago, reading Victor Frankl’s small but mighty book “Man’s Search for Meaning”, I was troubled to find out that, during the years of the Holocaust and in the internment It’s about breasts, anyway. One of history’s Victorian mis- camps, the suffering was so intense and private, at times, that quotes, perhaps. Music soothes savage breasts. And the music could provide no solace, no soothing embrace. Only musician’s unwritten code of deportment and performers savagery gave the appearance of having the upper hand. The voice of music was silent. Or was it? creed of etiquette does not allow testing in this area.
Maybe that is when music is needed the most. Maybe that
SAVAGE BEASTS AND LUCKY CHARMS CONTINUED...
is when we can only listen to the most private music of our inner spirit.
talented and thoughtful young artists so that they might share the charmed gifts of their unique voices. It is a beautiful and humble exchange. A brief moment of contemplation, a harp and voice, solo piano or group of chamber musicians playing Schubert provide those with greater needs the chance to find themselves in quiet communion with music’s healing power. And the students come back with the gift, in exchange, that they have been heard and have, in a small way, helped.
Music. Undeniably, there is power in music. Music is an intensely personal experience and expression. And it has meaning. The great jazz pianist Herbie Hancock, when asked for the meaning of music, said, “ the purpose of music is to relieve suffering”. To this I would simply say that we should all see life as opportunity to relieve suffering. The shared gift of music is one of many gifts that have the power to soothe the savage beast or breast. The vital key is sharing; sharing our gifts.
If we share our gifts, the question of meaning will answer itself. And I might sleep better tonight.
The Glenn Gould School has indeed been fortunate and privileged to have had its students invited to perform, on a regular basis, in a number of Toronto hospitals: Princess Margaret’s, Toronto General, Sunnybrook/Women’s, and Credit Valley. These generous hosts have welcomed our
David Visentin Interim Dean, The Glenn Gould School
AN “AHA” MOMENT
was with a friend not all that long ago and we were talking about the “Big Picture.” He made a really interesting analogy that really struck home.
He pointed to a chair and asked me if I thought that there was a plan to make that chair. “Of course,” I said. Then he pointed at a shed in the back yard and repeated the same question, once again he got the same answer from me. Then he pointed at the house we were standing in and asked the same question for a third time. Yes I said. He pointed at a plane in the sky and asked again, is there a plan in place to make that plane? I gave him the same answer, growing somewhat tired of the same question and answer combination. Finally, he drew an arc in the air with his two arms and said, “Then, what makes you think that while there is a plan in place for something as simple as a chair that there is no plan for something as complex as our universe?” Even that comment was not news; it wasn’t that I didn’t think that there is some master plan at work or I never heard it articulated that way before. What was magical at that moment was that I was ready to hear that message and it really hit home!
There had been many a campfire discussion on that same topic; many books that were read, many strange twists of fate that have made huge differences in my life. This was different, for the first time, it sunk in. As if a door opened for me and I went through it. Not just looked in, I dove headlong into the other side. What a difference that has made in my life! Ever since that day I have been much more in tune with the universe, accepted that there is a master plan at work. Accepted that I have no idea, what that plan is and became more willing to realise that opportunities present themselves all the time. When you are ready, your teacher will appear. There is no such thing as a chance encounter. The trick is to be ready, willing and able? Are you?
Naguib Kerba Investment Planning Counsel Mississauga, Ontario
“ Most People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” - Abraham Lincoln
remember during the time that my father was battling terminal cancer, a friend of a friend whom I had never met, telephoned me. Our fathers were suffering from the same cancer. She said she wanted to offer her support and give me some advice that had really helped her. She told me to take a little holiday every day from the situation, to force myself to think of something else for an hour a day. It was the best advice I ever received during that very difficult time. I didn’t want to let go of the pain at first, as I thought I was somehow being selfish, but sheer emotional exhaustion forced me to try it. It soon became a daily practice. I would make my mind drift off to some happier time. I remember all the strangers who helped me out. It was such a surreal time. What I remember the most from that time, are the angels who appeared out of nowhere and made my day just that little bit easier. Like the guy at the candy and newspaper kiosk in Vancouver airport who always asked me how many days I was going to be over in Victoria, and gave me enough Cadbury chocolate bars to last me. My diet then consisted of chocolate and Evian water. I once told him my Dad was dying and chocolate was the only thing I enjoyed eating. The fact that he remembered me and always smiled in an understanding way, made me feel so good.
me. She just took my hand and asked me what she could do to help get me home. For some strange reason I asked her if she knew how to bake blueberry pies. I did not bake pies because I was convinced my pie crust would be soggy. I wanted to take a holiday and think of something else and that is what came out of my mouth. She explained in great detail every trick of the trade in pie making. I remember that she lived on a farm. I asked her to tell me about what her kitchen looked like and many other related questions. I stopped crying and became very relaxed. She held my hand the whole way. I hugged her when we landed and thanked her for getting me home. I wish I had asked her name, but it really didn’t matter. Many incredible people taught me how powerful simple acts of human kindness can change a very difficult situation into a tolerable one. I feel so privileged to be a chemo buddy at Princess Margaret Hospital today. It has given me the opportunity to help other people going through this difficult time, learn how to take little holidays. I bring smiles and some good old positive energy. I listen to their stories; bring warm blankets, juice and cookies and my hand to hold. I look straight into their eyes letting them know that I really care about them, and if they wish me to talk or to just listen, I am good at both. My volunteer shift is the best part of my week………..I love it! Sheila Geist Director, The Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation ChemoBuddy, The Princess Margaret Hospital
Once while visiting my Dad, I took him out to buy a Lazy Boy chair to put in front of his living room window so he could look out over the ocean. I had left my Dad sitting in the chair in the store as I went to pay. I told the sales lady that I needed the chair delivered right away and she said the quickest delivery was the following week. I told her my situation and told her how hard it was for me every time I had to leave my Dad to go back home. I needed to leave the next day and wanted to set him up at the window before I left. She told me she would see what she could do. I took my Dad on a long drive that day. We drove all along the ocean and up to his favorite look out point. When we arrived home, there was a small pick up truck outside the condo. A man and his son had delivered my Dad’s chair. They were the sales ladies husband and son! I just stood there and cried. The last story I will share with you is about Blueberry Pies. I found leaving my Dad after visits to his home very difficult, as I was so frightened I would never see him again. I was always a mess. I had just boarded the flight to Toronto and taken my seat when the tears began. Then a woman sat down beside “ Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.” - James M. Barrie