Research

Without research there can be no cure. It is the scientific community that continues to make small gains into effective treatment alternatives. It is the researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and at Johns Hopkins’ Kimmel Center that peer thorugh microscopes each day looking for clues, looking for answers and searching for the cure.

Through research we can achieve prevention. We can focus on the causes of cancer, the genetic markers, the environmental factors and dispel some of the myths associated with this disease. With each new answer found in the lab, new hope is provided to patients and their families. With each new scientific or medical breakthrough, we come closer to realizing the miracle.

As a result of the research being supported by The Miracle Foundation, patients will be able to be assessed for risk factors more effectively. Cancer testing will be more comprehensive and accessible. As a result of research the miracle foundation is supporting – there is hope. It is so critically important that we continue to raise funds to support studies and cliincal trials being implemented in some of science and medicines’ most prestigious and important halls of learning. It is so important that this foundation continues to support the tireless efforts of researchers and leaders in the field.

Dr. Bert Vogelstein

Dr. Bert Vogelstein is a brilliant scientist who had an “outside of the box” research theory but could not obtain the funding for this type of research. It was that idea that came to the attention of The Miracle Foundation. It was the kind of innovative, unique sciencific idea that we were looking to support and it is that idea that became one of The Miracle Foundation’s first initiatives and great accomplishments.

Bert Vogelstein is one of the most notable researchers in our country and throughout the world. He is the Clayton Professor of Oncology and Pathology at the Johns Hopkins University in Maryland. Dr. Vogelstein received his first degree in mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1970. Realizing that his interest was more in medicine than mathematics, he completed and received his medical degree from Johns Hopkins in 1974. As one of our nations most prominent cancer researchers, Dr. Vogelstein has received numerous awards and honors, including
The Gairdner Foundation International Award, the Louisa Gross Horwitz prize, the Prestigious Prince of Austrias Award for Scientific Research and many others – all well deserved.

The goal of his current research is to develop new approaches to the prevention or treatment of cancers through a better understanding of the genes and pathways underlying their pathogenisis. The funding that The Miracle Foundation provided to dr. Vogelstein’s Lab enabled Dr. Vogelstein and his team to devote the past few years of research towards the development of combination bacteriolytic therapy, also known as cobalt. Dr. Vogelstein’s theory was that it may be possible to take advantage of one of cancer’s weaknesses, the fact that tumors often grow too quickly to adequately nourish their central core. The weakness leaves behind a void in the center of tumors that is free from blood and free from the oxygen that the blood transports, rendering them resistant to conventional chemotherapy and radiation.

Using this knowledge, Dr Vogelstein has exploited this weakness by using bacteria that can live in environments with low oxygen levels. Through ongoing refinements of the technique, which yielded a new strain of low oxygen bacteria, tests in laboratory mice have revealed that the bacteria is capable of killing solid tumors within weeks. And tests on rabbits have demonstrated the same results. This is an incredible, breakthrough discovery.

Dr. Vogelstein has just received FDA approval and has begun clinical trials on his first patient.

Researchers are not always able to obtain federal funding for innovative theories like the theory that Dr. Vogelstein had. These results are the reason why private funding from organizations like The Miracle Foundation are so vital and so important to our researchers. And it is the reason why we are committed to supporting this type of outside of the box research.

Dr. Vogelstein was once quoted as saying; "I couldn’t tell them anything about their daughter’s disease. I couldn’t tell them what had caused it or why. I could only offer some encouraging words about therapies that may potentially help, but what they really wanted to know was why.” Today, Dr. Vogelstein and his colleagues continue to look for answers for all patients and their families.

It is his quest, his pioneering spirit, his determination, and his passion for prevention which is the reason why The Miracle Foundation supports his work to make a difference in the fight against cancer.

In an effort to uphold its commitment to support leading edge cancer research, the Miracle Foundation has since 2001 awarded over $600,000 in grants to Bert Vogelstein, M.D.

Awarded 2004 Prince of Asturias Award for Scientific and Technical Research

 Bert Vogelstein, M.D. was awarded the 2004 Prince of Asturias Award for Scientific and Technical Research, considered to be one of the world’s most important lifetime achievements in science. The awards recognize achievements in a variety of categories, including science, communications and humanities, the arts, literature, social sciences, international cooperation and sports. Past recipients include Nelson Mandela, Mikhail Gorbachev, Lance Armstrong and Jane Goodall. Dr. Vogelstein and his team have devoted the past few years of research towards the development of combination bacteriolytic therapy, also known as COBALT. Vogelstein’s theory is to take advantage of one of cancer’s weaknesses, the fact that tumors often grow too quickly to adequately nourish their central core. The weakness leaves behind a void in the center of tumors that is free from blood and free from the oxygen that the blood transports, rendering them resistant to conventional chemotherapy and radiation. Using this knowledge, Vogelstein has exploited this weakness by using bacteria that can live in environments with low oxygen levels. Through ongoing refinements of the technique, which yielded a new strain of low oxygen bacteria, tests in laboratory mice have revealed that the bacteria is capable of killing solid tumors within weeks.

 Dr. Vogelstein is the Miracle Foundation’s longest standing researcher, having received $600,000 grants to support his work in finding a cure for cancer. “Dr. Vogelstein has always, creatively and with great conviction, pursued, innovative approaches to finding a cure for cancer. We are extremely proud of our affiliation with such an exceptional scientist and person and are thrilled that Bert’s body of work has been acknowledged in such a fitting manner,” said Patti Tenaglia, Co-Founder of The Miracle Foundation and Advisory Council Member of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center At Johns Hopkins.

Vogelstein is Director of the Molecular Genetics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center in Baltimore, and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. During the past decade, his team of researchers uncovered the genetic basis of colorectal cancer. Vogelstein is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. In addition, he has held editorial posts at top scientific and medical journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine and Science. He is the most frequently cited scientist in the world today and the recipient of numerous professional awards and scientific prizes. 
 

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

The Miracle Foundation has provided more than $500,000 to the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory to support research conducted by Dr. Michael Wigler that may be instrumental in allowing physicians to recommend better treatment choices for their patients.

Ocular Prosthetic

The Miracle Foundation has supported the development for a design of a prototype for a new, innovative ocular prosthetic which will drastically improve the cosmetic appearance and replace the grossly- inadequate prosthetics currently now used. This research is being spearheaded by world-renowned oncologist, Dr. David Abramson, Chief, Ophthalmic Oncology Service, Department of Surgery, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. This revolutionary prosthetic device will greatly benefit the lives of retinoblastoma patients.

Retinoblastoma is a cancer of the retina that can present itself in a variety of ways. In a majority of cases, this form of cancer is diagnosed in children under 5 years old. The majority of patients will have a white pupil reflex instead of a normal, healthy, black
pupil, or red reflux. The abnormal, white reflex is sometimes referred to as a cat’s eye reflex. Many times the parent is the first to notice the cat’s eye reflex either by looking at the eye or when a photograph is taken. The crossed eye is the second most common manner. Retinoblastoma is commonly treated with the removal of the affected eye in combination with chemotherapy.