TGen Foundation Announces New Cancer Fund

ATAC Research Fund supports TGen's adrenocortical carcinoma project

Phoenix, AZ, October 3, 2005-The TGen Foundation today announced the receipt of a gift from Scottsdale philanthropist Troy Richards to establish the Advancing Treatments for Adrenocortical Carcinoma (ATAC) Fund, designed to support genetic research efforts toward the disease. In addition to donating $100,000 to the fund, Mr. Richards will work with the TGen Foundation to raise additional funds for the project, which will use the institute's genetic technologies to analyze adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) tumors.

ACC is a rare cancer of the adrenal cortex that affects one to two people per million. The adrenal cortex is the outside layer of the adrenal glands, which are located above each kidney in the back of the upper abdomen. When cells in the adrenal cortex become cancerous, they may overproduce hormones, which can cause symptoms such as high blood pressure, weakening of the bones, or diabetes.

At the present time, there is only one drug on the market approved for the disease. TGen researchers and Richards alike hope this project will one day offer ACC patients new and better therapies.

Mr. Richards himself was diagnosed with ACC six years ago by Dr. Richard Rosenberg of Arizona Oncology Associates in Tucson. Dr. Rosenberg later connected Mr. Richards with TGen. "I believe TGen is in a perfect position to carry out ACC research, and I am dedicated to keeping this project going until we find viable treatments for ACC," said Mr. Richards.

The largest ACC research project to date, the study's goal is to analyze 100 ACC tumor samples and compare their genetic signatures to 20 benign adrenal cortex samples. TGen researchers will use the genomic data to identify mutations and design new diagnostic tools and therapeutics to combat this aggressive cancer.

Adrenocortical carcinoma survivor Troy Richards (left) and TGen's Dr. Michael Demeure (right) are working together on a study to analyze 100 ACC tumor samples and compare their genetic signatures to 20 benign adrenal cortex samples.

"Troy Richards, through his drive and generous financial gift to TGen, has provided a much-needed opportunity to advance research in adrenocortical cancer," said Dr. Michael Demeure, TGen senior investigator and lead scientist on the ACC project. "Our team will use the latest molecular genetic technologies available here at TGen to study tumor samples from patients with ACC. Our goal is to develop new more effective treatments for this rare but deadly disease."

Dr. Demeure, along with Dr. Daniel Von Hoff, Director of TGen's Translational Research Division, are working with oncologists and surgeons worldwide to obtain ACC tumor samples. Collaborating partners include the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons and Mayo Clinic of Rochester, MN.

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About TGen
The mission of the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) 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 and applying them to the development of diagnostics, prognostics and therapies for cancer, neurological disorders, diabetes and other complex diseases. TGen is focused on personalized medicine and plans to accomplish its goals through robust and disease-focused research.

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