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Foundation Update: Winter 2002

Highlights from the latest developments at the Gerald P. Murphy Cancer Foundation:

Murphy Foundation participation in a prostate cancer treatment trial has yielded positive results . ATRIX Laboratories has announced the commercial availability of ELIGARD™ 7.5 mg (leuprolide acetate for injectable suspension), an innovative hormone therapy for the palliative treatment of advanced prostate cancer. Sanofi-Synthelabo, Inc. is the pharmaceutical marketing partner with ATRIX for licensed distribution in the United States. ELIGARD™ 7.5 mg utilizes a new delivery system for a proven drug that has been used in prostate cancer for more than a decade. The clinical trial demonstrated conclusively that a newly patented system could deliver leuprolide acetate over a 30-day period in a manner that resulted in consistent suppression of testosterone and minimized the side effects typically associated with hormonal therapy. Beginning in 2000, the Murphy Foundation served as one of the clinical test sites for the trial which led to FDA approval of this new treatment for prostate cancer.

The Murphy Foundation has been chosen to participate in the NIH sponsored SELECT trial for prostate cancer prevention. SELECT is a national clinical trial investigating the use of selenium and Vitamin E to reduce the incidence of prostate cancer. The trial will run for 12 years, monitoring 32,400 men nationwide. The Murphy Foundation, already known for its work on the anticancer effects of selenium within the dog prostate, will surely be the only cancer center where male patients – both men and pet dogs – are enrolled in clinical trials for cancer prevention! The Foundation’s activities in the SELECT trial will be headed by Dr. David Waters in collaboration with Robin Zon, M.D. and Mary Jean Wasielewski, RN, OCN, CCRA, of the Northern Indiana Cancer Research Consortium, and supported in part by The Olin Looker Memorial Fund. Participation in the SELECT trial provides a vivid example of the Murphy Foundation’s continued commitment to a comparative oncology approach so that both mankind and animals can benefit from cancer research.

The Foundation’s new research findings were recently presented at the CaP CURE Scientific Retreat in September 2002. Dr. David Waters was honored to receive an invitation to participate in the prestigious conference, after being recognized as one of the top prostate cancer investigators supported by the Department of Defense’s Prostate Cancer Research Program. Dr. Waters joined an elite group of scientists at this gathering, which was convened in Washington, DC to highlight recent progress in prostate cancer biology, prevention, and treatment. Dr. Waters shared with colleagues the Foundation’s newest research data on the important role of the trace mineral selenium in regulating DNA damage within the aging prostate. The meeting featured keynotes from prostate cancer survivors, including Senator Robert Dole and Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach, the newly appointed Director of the National Cancer Institute. CaP CURE is a foundation funded by Michael Milken that focuses on prostate cancer.

Murphy scientists have published data supporting a new theory on the possible causes of bone cancer. The provocative new research findings were published in November 2002 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention (volume 11: pp.1434-1440), the world’s most widely read scientific journal focused on cancer prevention. The work is joint research conducted by the Murphy Foundation and Purdue University. Investigators conducted a nationwide study of bone cancer risk in Rottweiler dogs because this breed is plagued by the same type of bone cancer (osteosarcoma) that most commonly affects children and teenagers. “Our results suggest that similar to breast and prostate cancer the spontaneous development of bone cancer in Rottweiler dogs may be significantly influenced by sex hormones”, stated Dr. Dawn Cooley, a Foundation Research Scientist and author of the study. These findings have important implications as the Murphy Foundation prepares to initiate a nationwide bone sarcoma prevention trial in pet dogs. The work was funded in part by the IAMS Company and the Animal Cancer Foundation. The Murphy Foundation is dedicated to the advancement of new strategies to treat and prevent osteosarcoma, a lethal and underfunded disease of pet dogs, children, and teenagers. To access the scientific abstract, please visit the website:

The Murphy Foundation recognizes top students for excellence in comparative oncology. Rachel A. Reiman of Kansas State University and Andrew Mills of Ross University were the 2002 recipients of the Gerald P. Murphy Prize for Excellence in Comparative Oncology. These awards recognize exceptional students during the fourth year of their veterinary medicine curriculum who demonstrate the potential to make important contributions to the field of comparative oncology. These awards, initiated in 2001, are testimony to the Murphy Foundation’s commitment to developing young comparative biomedical scientists as tomorrow’s leaders in cancer research.

In collaboration with the International Union Against Cancer, University of Virginia, University of Ancona, and University of Padova Medical School, the Murphy Foundation helped to sponsor The International Consultation on the Diagnosis of Non-invasive Urothelial Neoplasms held in Ancona, Italy. The meeting provided an opportunity for urologists, pathologists, and basic scientists to come together to refine the criteria currently used to diagnose and classify bladder cancers. Results of their deliberations are summarized in a consensus statement published in August 2002 in a noted international pathology journal (Virchows Archives 2002; 441:109-116). By organizing and co-sponsoring this event, the Murphy Foundation hopes to touch the lives of people with bladder cancer by improving the reliability of bladder cancer diagnosis and prognostication.

The Bedrock Group has been established as a financial challenge by Murphy Board member Neil Ellis, as a means of undergirding the Foundation’s long-term fiscal health. Aware of the impact of current economic uncertainties, Ellis has invited others to join him in pledging annual commitments of $12,000 ($1,000 per month) or more to generate income to underwrite those costs related to core research that are not otherwise covered by grants. Many donors, unable to commit larger gifts toward a permanent endowment fund at this time, are eager nonetheless to strengthen the Foundation’s financial future. Whether given as unrestricted support for on-going expenses, or designated for particular capital costs (i.e. new equipment), Bedrock funds represent the commitment by our constituents that allows us to aggressively pursue the next best ideas in cancer prevention and treatment.

Foundation Update is a tri-annual newsletter published by the Gerald P. Murphy Cancer Foundation, a not-for-profit research foundation supported by grants from federal, corporate, and private foundation sources, and by donations from individuals. For information on making tax-deductible donations to the Foundation, please contact us at 877-493-5175.