Sunday, November 6, 2016

New Health System Impact on Pediatric Patients

What does a new health system partnership mean for pediatric patients of OU Children's Hospital and OU Children's Physicians?

A new integrated services agreement between the University Hospitals Authority and Trust (UHAT), the University of Oklahoma and SSM Health’s St. Anthony Hospitals and Physicians Group was announced a week ago Friday. Pending regulatory approvals, the new partnership will become effective in the first half of next year when the Hospital Corporation of America, the current operator of OU Medical System hospitals and facilities, will conclude its relationship with UHAT and OU.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Management changes at OU hospitals announced

That the management of OU Children's Hospital along with other facilities is to be taken over by the parent company of St. Anthony was announced yesterday. Read the full story at the Oklahoman:

Monday, August 29, 2016

OSU Coaches vs Cancer Birthday Bash

OSU Coaches vs Cancer Birthday Bash 2016 Registration, Sun, Oct 9, 2016 at 2:00 PM | Eventbrite
Register at Eventbrite

Sponsored by ProCure Proton Therapy Center and The OSU Foundation

Sunday, October 9, 2:00 - 4:00 pm
Gallagher-Iba Arena, Oklahoma State University

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Dr. Meyer Highlights Need for Dedicated Pediatric Cancer Research at Announcement

OU CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL -- Below is the transcript of remarks by Dr. William Meyer, the Ben Johnson Endowed Chair and Chair of the Jimmy Everest Section of Pediatric Hematology / Oncology at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, delivered during the announcement of a new partnership that will expand pediatric cancer research efforts in Oklahoma.

"The journey to cure childhood cancer began in Boston with Sidney Farber’s testing of antifols, targeted drugs to deplete leukemia cells of folates, soon after World War II. In September 1947 (now almost 70 years ago) a 2-year old boy with leukemia was the first child to receive one of these new antifols provided by Dr. Farber.  

Seven Year Old Cancer Survivor Steals the Show at Announcement

OU CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL -- Seven year old leukemia survivor Brock Hart and his mother, Vanessa Hart, spoke Friday at the announcement of a new partnership that will expand pediatric cancer research efforts in Oklahoma.

Brock stole the show with his matter-of-fact manner, stylish glasses and navy blue bow-tie.  
"Hello, My name is Brock. I'm seven years old and I have leukemia. These doctors helped me and I like fishing."

No one who saw Brock at the announcement before he spoke would have known just how big a battle he'd fought and won. Brock's mother, Vanessa, shared about their family's journey and how past research efforts saved Brock's life. 

"Brock was diagnosed with leukemia almost seven years ago when he was just 11 months old. 
Vanessa and Brock Hart
"I know it sounds cliché but no one thinks that their baby is going to get cancer. We were a happy little family of four. Brock had just learned to walk. He had the cutest belly laugh. And then in one day it all changed. 

Oklahoma Kicks Off National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month Early, Expanding Research Efforts

OU CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL (Aug. 26, 2016)— September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. In Oklahoma, it's beginning a week early this year. On Friday, officials with the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET), the Jimmy Everest Center for Cancer in Children, the Stephenson Cancer Center (SCC), the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (OUHSC) and the Children's Hospital Foundation (CHF) announced a new initiative to expand childhood cancer research efforts in the state.

Patients, survivors of childhood cancer, their families, healthcare professionals and advocates were in the Samis Education Center at OU Children's Hospital for the announcement.

With an upfront combined investment of $2.2 million, the research partnership will recruit three externally-funded pediatric cancer researchers, expand pediatric clinical trials statewide and establish a pediatric cancer research fund to support future research aimed at increasing knowledge and understanding of childhood cancers.

Up to $1 million annually from an existing TSET research grant to Stephenson Cancer Center will be allocated to increasing access to cutting-edge cancer treatment for children statewide.

“Many of today’s cures come from innovation and creativity spawned by researchers at universities. This partnership, along with others, funds important endeavors intended to improve the health of all Oklahomans,” said Jim Gebhart, chairman of the TSET Board of Directors. “It is our hope that this partnership will lead to transformative cancer treatment and historic cures for childhood cancers.”

The Jimmy Everest Pediatric Oncology Program located on the OU Health Sciences Center campus is Oklahoma’s most comprehensive pediatric cancer program. Under the leadership of Dr. William Meyer, Ben Johnson Endowed Chair and Chair of the Jimmy Everest Section of Pediatric Hematology / Oncology at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, the Jimmy Everest Center Program has developed an outstanding clinical team of physicians and staff dedicated to treating this devastating disease.

As part of the Stephenson Cancer Center’s application to the National Cancer Institute for designation as a comprehensive cancer center, the center will make pediatric cancer research a key area of focus.

“It’s exciting to learn Oklahoma is considering a sustainable initiative for children's cancer research, said Dr. Crystal Mackall, associate director of the Stanford Cancer Institute. “Relatively little funding goes to research new, more effective treatments for cancer in children. This development in Oklahoma is a welcome bit of news and certainly hope this effort is successful.”

State Rep. Todd Thomsen, R-Ada, attended the announcement. Thomsen's four-and-a-half year old son, Tal, died in 1998 from complications from the treatments for a brain stem spinal cord tumor after a three year battle.

"It's an honor to be part of this collaborative effort to make childhood cancer research a priority for our state," Thomsen said. "Having walked down the challenging path of pediatric cancer with our son, my wife and I understand just how important innovation is to not only providing a cure for these kids but also a better future and quality of life."

State Rep. Jason Nelson, R-Oklahoma City, also attended. Nelson's 10 year old daughter, Grace, was diagnosed with cancer nearly two years ago. She was treated at the Jimmy Everest Center and is currently in remission.

Nelson said he was inspired to raise the possibility of using TSET earnings to fund pediatric cancer research after watching his daughter battle cancer and after learning about how relatively little is spent on researching childhood cancer.

"My eyes were opened to the need after Grace's battle," Nelson said. "But more than anything, I was motivated from a type of survivor's guilt as my child survived cancer while other children I had come to know, who were fighting cancer at the same time, did not survive. Being in the Legislature put me in a position to raise the issue with the right people and I did and I'm thankful that TSET and the other partners heard the need and are helping."

Pediatric Cancer Research Funding Partnership At a Glance:

• $2.2 million up-front start-up cost to recruit three top pediatric cancer researchers with funds from the Children’s Hospital Foundation, OU Health Sciences Center, and Stephenson Cancer Center

• $1 million annual support from TSET

• Allocate TSET funds annually to be used as seed grants for new, emerging pediatric cancer research.

• Funding partnership will increase clinical trial availability in Oklahoma

• Provide additional support for cooperative research with partners throughout the state of Oklahoma

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Media Advisory Issued for “Major Announcement Benefiting Pediatric Cancer Patients”

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A media advisory was sent to news outlets today about a news conference scheduled for tomorrow at 11 a.m., at OU Children's Hospital to share details of a major partnership between the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust or TSET, the Stephenson Cancer Center, Children's Hospital Foundation and the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center that will benefit Oklahoma pediatric cancer patients. 

Childhood Cancer Research Initiative on TSET Agenda

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) has posted its next quarterly meeting agenda which includes consideration of a "Pediatric Oncology Initiative." The meeting takes place Friday. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

New Childhood Cancer Research Initiative Announcement Planned Friday

OU CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL (Aug. 22, 2016) -- Officials with the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET), the Jimmy Everest Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders in Children and the Stephenson Cancer Center are announcing a new Childhood Cancer Research Initiative this Friday, August 26, 2016.
The 11 a.m. announcement will take place in the Samis Education Center at OU Children's Hospital. Please respond to if you plan to attend the announcement. 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Sunday, March 13, 2016

House Passes Childhood Cancer Research Proposal 85-10

A proposal to make funds available for childhood cancer research passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives on March 9th, by a vote of 85 to 10 and now heads to the State Senate. The funds would come from earnings from the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, or TSET. 

House Joint Resolution 1045, if approved by the state Legislature this spring will go to a vote of the people this November. If approved by voters, it will require the TSET board to set aside at least $1 million for pediatric cancer research annually. 

The resolution must pass out of Senate committee within the next four weeks. 

House Joint Resolution 1045 was filed by Rep. Jason Nelson, R-Oklahoma City, and Rep. Todd Thomsen, R-Ada, in January. Sen. Kim David is the senate sponsor. Rep. Sean Roberts and Sen. Eddie Fields are cosponsors. 

Resolution Explains Childhood Cancer Research Need

House Resolution 1043 was adopted by the Oklahoma House of Representatives March 9, 2016, and was filed with the Oklahoma Secretary of State the next day. 


2nd Session of the 55th Legislature (2016)

RESOLUTION 1043                                                                  By: Nelson and Thomsen


A Resolution expressing certain belief; encouraging
partnerships that improve effectiveness of treatments
for childhood cancer and reduce negative effects of
such treatment; and directing distribution.

    WHEREAS, cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children in the United States; and

  WHEREAS, approximately one in 285 children in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer before their 20th birthday; and

    WHEREAS, the incidence of childhood cancer is on the increase, averaging 0.6 percent increase per year since the mid 1970s, an overall increase of 24 percent over the last 40 years; and

Twice A Cancer Mom

By Shannon Bollenbach, March 12, 2016 -- As tomorrow approaches this momma can't help but be overcome with mixed emotions, tomorrow Jase will finish up his chemotherapy. 

When I told Jase "no more chemo baby," he says " Yay momma no more boo boo, no more pokes, no more bandaids." Hearing the excitement in your 2 year olds voice is worth a million dollars. 

This has been our lives the past 14 months with Jase, the past 7 years between both boys. 

Jase has grown to love the nurses, doctors, and staff at both the hospital and JEC clinic [Jimmy Everest Center at OU Children's Hospital]. Instead of talking about his friends at school or neighbor kids he talks about Dr. Sims, Dr. McNall, Will, Heather Kelly, Alma, and Becky just to name a few. 

The best part of this whole journey has to be how much Jase has grown and became this intelligent little person. There isn't a soul who doesn't know him, if so he will gladly introduce himself and tell you all about it. He has a contagious smile that will light up the room. 

He is one of the brightest two year olds I know, he can say his entire alaphebet, count to ten, and tell you exactly what he wants. 

The once shy little boy is now are inquestive social butterfly. We may be finished with chemo but Jase still has weekly appointments, monthly scans, and lab work on a regular basis this will never end. Life as Jase knows it is about to change.  

As for momma, I've  never been so damn terrified in my life, just the thought makes me sick to my stomach. After Kaden's cancer returning so aggressively there is a high chance Jases will also, it may be 6 days after treatment or 60 years we will never know, all we can do is watch for the signs and monitor him closely.  

I know stressing isn't the answer, I know I'm supposed to leave it to God but in reality I'm a cancer mom, of 2, that knows the reality of this horrible disease all too well. 

What's next, we are going to live life this summer like never before many lake trips, vacation, and family time. 

Jase has requested a party with balloons and presents he can unwrap so a party Jase will get. We will be celebrating the end of chemo, and a little thank you to all the nurses and staff that have cares for Jase along the way.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

First Major Vote on Childhood Cancer Research Resolution Set Wednesday Afternoon

March 8, 2016 -- House Resolution 1043 describing the need for more research into improved therapies to fight childhood cancer was introduced by Reps. Jason Nelson and Todd Thomsen earlier today.

HR1043 was filed 24 hours before House Joint Resolution 1045, the constitutional amendment directing funds from the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, is due to be considered by the Oklahoma House of Representatives. 

Rep. Nelson said both resolutions are scheduled to be voted on by representatives Wednesday afternoon. 

"HJR1045 and HR1043 are scheduled to be heard tomorrow after 4:30 p.m.," Nelson said. "We plan to hear HR1043 first which describes the need for more research funding and then hear HJR1045, the constitutional amendment, which is the legislation that will go to a vote of the people this year if passed by the Legislature."

Nelson said anyone interested in showing their support for the pair of resolutions are welcome to come to the House Gallery at the State Capitol by 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 9, 2016, to watch the proceedings. The House session is also streamed live on the Oklahoma House of Representatives website for those who cannot come to the Capitol.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Childhood Cancer Research Measure Passes First of Many Votes

A proposed amendment to the State Constitution setting aside funds for childhood cancer research passed the House Rules Committee February 17, by a vote of 8-2. The funds would come from Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, or TSET, earnings. 

House Joint Resolution 1045, if approved by the state Legislature and a vote of the people, would require the TSET board to set aside annually at least $1 million for pediatric cancer research. 

An amendment by state Rep. Jason Nelson, author of HJR 1045, increasing the set-aside from five percent to the greater of $1 million or 10 percent of what the board already grants for medical research was adopted unanimously.

Nelson said it was necessary to increase the amount of funds to ensure minimum adequate funding will be available to support the level of research anticipated.

“I increased the amount of money that will be made available after visiting with the chairman of the leading childhood cancer research organization in North America,” Nelson said. “It was clear that five percent of the current research funding level supported by TSET would not be enough to fund a project capable of the kind of high level research expected. I was told that a minimum investment of $1 million would be necessary. That happens to be about 10 percent of the earnings set aside by TSET last year for medical research.”

Nelson added a provision addressing a concern raised by TSET that the new set-aside could impact its existing funding commitments and struck language that would have allowed funds to be spent on research to improve access and continuity of educational services for children receiving cancer treatment. Nelson said the TSET board is already investing a significant amount of money on education related initiatives. He said focusing the limited funds on medical research made more sense.

The resolution must be approved by the House of Representatives in the next two weeks. 

House Joint Resolution 1045 was filed by Rep. Jason Nelson, R-Oklahoma City, and Rep. Todd Thomsen, R-Ada, in January.

Related: Childhood Cancer Research Funding Amendment Proposed

Monday, February 15, 2016

Hearing Set for Resolution; Supporters Asked to Call, Email

The Oklahoma Childhood Cancer Research Amendment, HJR 1045, has been scheduled for hearing in the House Rules Committee this Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016, at 10:30 a.m., at the Capitol in Room 512A. 

Supporters of HJR 1045 are encouraged to contact members of the committee before the hearing to express your support and share your story. 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Childhood Cancer Research Proposal Merits Consideration

From The Oklahoman opinion page today:

"Childhood cancer research
Several proposed constitutional amendments await consideration in the Legislature, including one to require that at least 5 percent of earnings from the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust that are now directed to medical research be used for childhood cancer research. That measure is authored by Rep. Jason Nelson, R-Oklahoma City, who understands this issue more than most. At age 8, Nelson's daughter Grace was diagnosed with an advanced stage Wilms' tumor, a rare type of kidney cancer that primarily affects children. Grace successfully completed treatment in September. Nelson said TSET funding for child cancer research could enable Oklahoma researchers to also draw additional funding from outside the state, augmenting the positive impact. We've criticized prior proposals that diverted tobacco settlement money from the TSET fund for nonhealth needs. In contrast, Nelson's plan would use state health funding for health needs, and deserves serious consideration."

KFOR story about 3 year old Brantley Phillips

KFOR Headline: "Town helps 3-year-old cancer patient celebrate last day of treatment"

“I would lay in bed at night and cry and beg God to give me his cancer and take it from him, take his pain away,” said Amanda Phillips, his mother.  “We felt people’s prayers. I mean, you could physically feel people praying for us.”

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Childhood Cancer Research Funding Amendment Proposed

A proposed constitutional amendment has been filed at the State Capitol that would set aside funds for childhood cancer research from earnings from the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust or TSET

House Joint Resolution 1045 was filed by Rep. Jason Nelson, R-Oklahoma City, and Rep. Todd Thomsen, R-Ada, in January. As introduced, the measure would require TSET to make available a minimum of five percent of the earnings it directs to medical research for childhood cancer research. 

Rep. Nelson said TSET has grown and matured since its creation in 2000 and the medical research supported by the Endowment has grown and broadened as well.

“Oklahoma is well positioned to be an important partner in the fight against childhood cancer and in the search for better, less toxic treatments,” Nelson said. “There is still a lot of work to be done to investigate the causes and improve the cures for childhood cancer.  I’ve been told by experts that the modest investment this amendment would provide is sufficient to support meaningful research right here in Oklahoma— the type of important, high-quality research that has the potential to draw additional funding from outside the state.” 

Nelson also said that using a small fraction of TSET earnings to fund childhood cancer research is consistent with the constitutional mission of the endowment. He added that the caliber of research that could result from this investment would complement the high-level cancer research TSET supports at the Stephenson Cancer Center at the University of Oklahoma Medical Center. 

Rep. Thomsen believes voters will support the amendment when they learn how devastating childhood cancer is and that Oklahoma can help.

“Many people don’t know that cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children,” Thomsen said. “Too many children still do not survive cancer or the treatments and those that do often suffer life-long complications from the treatment. Oklahoma can be a part of changing this narrative.”

Nelson said he already plans to change HJR 1045 in committee to increase the amount set aside for childhood cancer research from five to ten percent or $1 million annually, whichever is greater.

HJR 1045 will direct funding to research projects that will address one or more of the following areas: improving the treatment of childhood cancer, enhancing the provision of childhood cancer treatment services within the state to reduce the need for children to seek treatment outside the state, improving access and continuity to educational services for children who receive cancer treatment, and improving or eliminating the late effects of treatment for childhood cancer.

TSET currently has assets of more than $1 billion. According to the TSET 2015 Annual Report, it provided $10,223,133 in research grants last year, approximately 20 percent of its available earnings that year.  Had the provisions of HJR 1045 been in place in 2015, approximately $511,000 would have been made available for pediatric cancer research last year.

TSET is a constitutional public endowment. HJR 1045 is a proposed amendment to the constitutional charter of TSET which was established by a vote of the people. If HJR 1045 passes the Legislature this spring, voters will decide the issue in the General Election this November.

Each year, TSET receives part of the annual payment made by tobacco companies to the State pursuant to the Master Settlement Agreement with the tobacco industry.

Nelson said, that in the next few weeks, he plans to introduce a separate resolution detailing the reasons additional resources are needed for childhood cancer research that will address the assumption by some that childhood cancer is a largely solved problem.

HJR 1045 has been assigned to the House Rules Committee, where Nelson serves as Vice Chairman, and is expected to be heard by the end of February. For more information about HJR 1045, contact Rep. Nelson here