BRAIN TUMORS - and a really SPECIAL OFFER, at WVRC on June 5th

KACY ROZELLE got us going with the Pledge (after first facing his audience, then the Flag…) PP STEVE DAY and JACK HARRIS combined on America the Beautiful, and we do well with these favorites. PDG BILL GOODWYN provided the Invocation, a yarn about a conscientious new monk who was allowed to speak just two words every five years - and on his third opportunity, ended his career with his allotted two words, "I quit"! "Good riddance, since all you have done is complain", the Prior said - but it was a touching tale, certainly.

BRUCE ROLF introduced a Visiting Rotarian, Bert Kriesberg, from Beverly Hills - Bert, we miss you -would you consider rejoining us? BILL MICHAEL introduced Devika Ogden, who recently relocated here from Honolulu, and is looking us over. She is with the Australian Trade Commission, in Century City. JIM BECHTEL brought Susan Milliken, who represents Global Neuro Rescue - you will recall her earlier visit with us, when Dr. Jorge Lazareff spoke briefly. He was the lead surgeon on the separation of the twins from Guatemala, and we are looking at putting on a Wine Tasting for their benefit early next year - PDG ANDY ANDERSON is the mover here, and would welcome your ideas and help, please. RALPH SMITH had a Special Guest, Tony Darien, who is a consultant on retirement planning. PP STEVE SCHERER again introduced his partner and Special Guest, Chris Bradford.

Prexy TED announced the recent passing of former member FRED BREER, who has lived in Palm Springs since leaving WVRC. DORIS GREATHEAD has moved to the P.E.O. Home in Alhambra - address is 700 N. Stoneman Ave, Alhambra 91801, and her direct line is (626) 300-0580. I had a lovely visit with Doris yesterday, and she would welcome both visits and phone calls, please. President Elect PETER MORE reminds us that photos of the Brisbane Convention are viewable on - we have a very visible Parkinson's Display, which was visited by President Bichai! RALPH SMITH reported that we have a softball site for our upcoming contests - it's in Redondo Beach, but what we need now is a closer place to practice. Suggestions to RALPH, of course. And RUDY ALVAREZ is keeping the internet lines busy with DAILY reports on the Group Study Exchange Team he is leading. So far, he has filed a mere 26 such reports!

SEAN McMILLAN introduced our Speaker, Dr. Timothy Cloughesy. Dr. Cloughesy was an undergraduate at Santa Barbara, where SEAN'S sons later studied, and he then took his medical degree at Tulane. This was followed by a residency in Neurology at UCLA, plus a fellowship at Sloan-Kettering in New York, specializing in Nuero Oncology. His practice focuses on the medical side of brain tumors, rather than the surgical side. Dr. Cloughesy has been with UCLA since 1992, and in 1997 he was named Director of the Neuro Oncology Department. His talk was illustrated by excellent visuals, which he explained in some detail.

There are about 35,000 new cases of primary brain tumors diagnosed each year - of these, perhaps 17,000 will die. As a comparison, 100,000 secondary brain tumors are diagnosed annually, and most of them will die. In other words, at least in the short term, primary brain tumors are not as deadly as secondary brain tumors - except that primary tumors may only be in remission, and thus the figures do not tell the whole story. Primary brain tumors are the leading cause of cancer deaths among children under 15 years of age, and the second leading cause of death among young adults, up to the age of 34. Also, an increase in primary brain tumors has recently been noted among patients over the age of 65. The most aggressive form of these tumors will usually kill within a year of inception, and once diagnosed, they are fatal within twenty weeks. Several visuals traced this rapid, deadly growth.

The majority of brain tumors are caused by genetic alterations, and this is the focus of extensive research by Dr. Cloughesy. No definitive causal relationship has been discovered linking hereditary factors, but there does seem to be a predisposition in some cases. A protein called P10 is a significant blocker of the spread of cancer genes, but if it is present in insufficient amounts, the spread can occur. Even when the cancer goes into remission, it usually recurs after awhile. Thus P10 provides some delay, but it only works in some cases, and not in others. Molecular biology shows what blocking pathways are working. If lab tests show no P10, the treatment effort focuses on finding a substitute drug that will work. The best new drug is Ribomycin, which can be given by mouth, and has little or no side effects, apparently. Present research is with mice, and their brain tumors are usually fatal within four months. In human adults, the fatality range is from six months up to many years.

There were several questions asked, and answered, during Dr. Cloughesy's visual presentation. In the brief, more formal Q&A, Bert Kriesberg asked if P10 is a blocking pathway only for the brain. No, it applies to other cancers. LILLIAN KLIEWER - Is this research experimental? Yes, it is still in development. Someone asked if pharmaceutical companies or universities do most of this research, and the answer was that universities lead the way. One reason is that they have access to lots more tissue to study. PDG ANDY ANDERSON - What can be done to prevent such tumors? Sad to say, there may be paths of prevention in some forms of cancer, but none so far have been discovered for the brain. CHARLES MAGNUSON - Is early detection helpful? Yes, always, but the cost of frequent MRI's is simply too expensive. TONY MARRONE - Are you optimistic about the progress being made? Yes, we are on the verge of putting it all together. PP JOHN SINGLETON - Does melanoma cause brain tumors? Yes.

At the conclusion of the formal presentation, and after the Q&A, SEAN came back to the mike and made a really significant offer. As background, some of you may know that SEAN'S middle son, Kevin, who is now 23, has been battling brain tumors since he was 17 and in his last year of high school. He had major radiation treatment, and as a result, was first almost incapacitated. He could barely walk, or talk, but he continued to recuperate, and now is close to 90% in function. He has been under the care of Dr. Cloughesy and other medical personnel at UCLA, and SEAN now feels a need to support some of the basic research that they are conducting. Specifically, they are studying medulloblastoma, looking for inhibitors or suppressors at the cellular/molecular level, and this pre-clinical project will cost about $50,000. SEAN has offered a matching gift of $25,000 toward this project, which means he will match any amount that comes in up to that total. If I may editorialize, I have to point out that this is an act of major support for this project, and one that will not be completed in time to materially aid his son, Kevin. I would hope some of you will step forward to help on this right away.
And SEAN, thank you for bringing this material to our attention...

YOE, Ernie Wolfe