Winter Gathering Educates and Brings Hope

2016 Winter GatheringOver 80 Sarcoma survivors and their loved ones gathered on Sunday, January 31, for an afternoon of Education, Hope, Laughter and Social Support at the beautiful Bachman’s Garden Center in Minneapolis.

Researchers Dr. Eva Galanis, Chair of the Department of Molecular Medicine at the Mayo Clinic and Dr. Branden Moriarity, Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota talked about their cutting edge research. Dr. Galanis’ talk was entitled Breakthroughs in Virotherapy: Sarcomas as the Next Target. She and her team are experimenting in developing viruses to treat cancer. Her team has developed a measles virus that has been effective against both Osteosarcoma and Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumors (a soft tissue sarcoma) at the cell level. A trial of measles virus in MPNST is opening in 2016. These treatments have a very promising future for treating sarcomas Drs Galanis and Moriarityand was the first Anti-Cancer Virus approved by the FDA in 2015.

Dr. Moriarity reported the findings of his team that activation of the SEMA4D drives the development of many Osteosarcoma tumors. They have developed an antibody therapy that blocks SEMA4D tumor promoting signals. This antibody may also be potentially therapeutic in other forms of Sarcoma as well. It has low, to no toxicity as compared with chemotherapy side effects. This therapy has been effective in models and they hope to initiate a phase 1 clinical trial.

Both doctors answered questions from the audience. These developments both look to be potentially effective treatments for Sarcomas.

Scott Burton - Juggler/ Sarcoma SurvivorAfter having our minds stimulated by these exciting breakthroughs in research, Scott Burton, Sarcoma Survivor, juggler, comedian and inspirational speaker invoked our laugh responses as he took on Sarcoma. He also wowed us with his juggling talent. It was a very therapeutic break in the individual battles that the audience are fighting against Sarcoma. Read more about Scott.

Scott and Julie Rose then passed the microphone among the survivors present to tell their stories.

We snacked on refreshments all afternoon and left refreshed by knowledge, humor and mutual support.

At the end of the afternoon most of the more then two dozen Sarcoma Survivors gathered for our group shot to remember our time together. We thank Ruth and Dale Bachman for providing us with the wonderful setting that lifts everyone’s spirits in the middle of winter.

2016 Gathering Survivors

2016 Gathering Sarcoma Survivors

For the slides of Dr Galanis’s presentation, click here.
For the slides of Dr. Moriarity’s presentation, click here.