Broach Foundation commits $5 million to brain cancer research

Supports research to defeat glioblastoma, aggressive disease that took founder’s life

MD Anderson News Release 09/12/14

The Broach Foundation for Brain Cancer Research has made a $5 million commitment to support glioblastoma multiforme research at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. In recognition, the institution has named two patient pods at the Brain and Spine Center. The first one is named in memory of the late James Broach and the other is in honor of the foundation he and his wife, Jamie, established in 2011, months after he was diagnosed with the most aggressive form of brain cancer.

There’s no known cure for glioblastoma, and the low survival rate hasn’t improved in years, due in part to inadequate funds for clinical research. In hopes of changing the statistics, the Broach Foundation directed its inaugural grant in 2012 toward research led by James’s physician, Frederick Lang, M.D., professor and director of clinical research in Neurosurgery. Dr. Lang’s lab focuses on a viral smart bomb developed at MD Anderson by Juan Fueyo, M.D., professor in Neuro-Oncology - Research, called Delta-24-RGD, a type of cold virus that’s engineered to infect and kill tumor cells. Lang pioneered the use of mesenchymal stem cells to deliver this virus and other biological therapies to brain tumors. Though James died at age 38 in 2013, the foundation continues to raise funds to support Lang and other collaborators at MD Anderson.  

“Philanthropy drives innovative research, which in turn drives the whole process of discovering new treatments and delivering them to the patient,” said Lang. “Thanks to the Broach Foundation’s generous support, we have promising clinical trials underway that mean hope for patients and their friends and loved ones coping with the effects of this deadly disease.”

Fighting cancer with laughter
Laughter and a positive outlook have been powerful weapons for the Broach family in their fight against a disease that is in no way funny. The couple chose to fight cancer with a combination of hard work and humor. They planned a comedy theme for their first gala fundraiser in May 2012 and called it Stand-Up for Brain Cancer. Actor, comedian and former “Saturday Night Live” cast member Kevin Nealon entertained a sold-out crowd at the River Oaks Country Club. Comedian Dennis Miller headlined the sold-out May 2013 event, followed by fellow “Saturday Night Live” alum Dana Carvey last April. Through gala proceeds, the Broach Foundation has contributed $1.7 million toward its $5 million commitment.

“We’re grateful to everyone who has contributed so generously to our foundation. The more we spread the news about the cutting-edge research taking place at MD Anderson and how brain cancer research continues to be underfunded, the more excited people become about wanting to join the cause,” said Jamie.

NOTE TO MEDIA: Foundation representatives will view recognition plaques and attend a reception, 5-7 p.m. Sept. 15, 1515 Holcombe Blvd, R11 (access via elevator B), Rooms 2-3. Parking for media in Texas Medical Center Garage 10 will be validated.