TGen Foundation Announces New Charitable Fund

"Leslie's Fund" will help support TGen's Melanoma Research Program

Phoenix, Arizona, February 17, 2005--The TGen Foundation today announced the creation of the Leslie Ann Ballard Melanoma Research Fund, named for a longtime Phoenix resident who lost her battle with malignant melanoma this year.
TGen's Melanoma Research Program is the beneficiary of "Leslie's Fund". The program includes a multidisciplinary team that focuses on several areas of melanoma research, including:

Identifying individuals who are most at-risk for developing melanoma
Increasing the understanding of the early stages of melanoma
Studying the genetic events underlying melanoma progression
Melanoma is the most dangerous and aggressive form of skin cancer. The five-year survival rate for melanoma decreases dramatically (from 96% to 12%) as the disease progresses from Stage I to Stage IV. It kills more women 25-30 than any other cancer. Caught early, melanoma has a cure rate of about 90 percent. However, there is no proven standard therapy for high risk or advanced melanoma.

"One of our key objectives is to accelerate melanoma research so real progress toward a cure can be made," said Dr. Jeffrey Trent, President and Scientific Director of TGen. "Our research is focused on advanced melanoma disease in the hope of understanding why some people respond to particular therapies and not others, to develop tests that will help predict which patients might respond to which therapeutic treatment, and to develop new more effective therapeutics for the treatment of this disease."

Family and friends of the vibrant mother of three whose life abruptly was changed forever with her diagnosis initiated Leslie's Fund in August 2004. She passed away about five months later. Leslie was an ASU graduate and made a career in pharmaceutical sales and marketing. The fund in her honor is established in perpetuity and is being guided by an advisory board of community members.

TGen, a 501c3 organization, is covering administrative costs for Leslie's Fund. All donations to the fund will be devoted completely to melanoma research and are 100 percent tax deductible.

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About the TGen Foundation
The TGen Foundation is a non-profit organization. All donations made to the TGen Foundation will be used to fund TGen's research needs for improving the health of humankind as we target new treatments, therapies and cures for such diseases as autism, melanoma, pancreatic cancer, brain tumors and diabetes. Donors may designate their gift as a tribute, either in memory or honor of a friend or family member. There are many other ways to also support the TGen Foundation. To discuss specific options with a Foundation staff member, please call (602) 343-TGEN (8436) or visit

About TGen
The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a not-for-profit organization whose primary mission is to make and translate genomic discoveries into advances in human health. Translational genomics research is a relatively new field employing innovative advances arising from the human Genome Project to apply to the development of diagnostics, prognostics and therapies for cancer, neurological disorders, diabetes and other complex diseases.

Media Contact: Galen Perry (602) 343-8423

Melanoma Facts

Melanoma is the fastest growing form of cancer among the general U.S. population.
The incidence of melanoma has tripled during the last four decades to the point where melanoma is now the 6th most common cancer in American men, and the 7th most common in American women.
About 50,000 new cases of melanoma are diagnosed every year. Nearly 8,000 of these cases will eventually prove fatal.
It is estimated that one in 75 children born in the year 2000 will develop melanoma.
Although there is a high rate of successful treatment for patients when melanoma is detected early enough, there are no effective therapies for melanoma once it has invaded distant sites such as the lungs or brain.

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