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2018 Promising Research

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During the 2018 calendar year, For Ian Foundation concentrated on working with and supporting Dr. Arthur S. Tischler’s research at Tuft’s medical center.

Dr. Arthur Tischler MD

Dr. Arthur Tischler MD

About a year or so after the passing of Ian Rahimi, Dr. Arthur Tischler of Tuft’s medical center, requested and received Patient Derived Xenograft (PDX) of Ian’s GIST tumor. In layman’s language, Patient derived xenografts are models of cancer where the tissue or cells from a patient's tumor are implanted into an immunodeficient or humanized mouse. These PDX models were successfully developed during Ian’s battle with his disease by Champions Oncology, Inc. which specializes in this type of work among many other aspects of cancer research. At the time Champions Oncology was the only medical laboratory, among a dozen or so, who was able to accomplish this. They may still be the only one.

With permission from Ian’s family and later For Ian Foundation, Dr. Tischler and a number of his colleagues, including colleagues outside of Tufts, were provided with the mouse PDX models from Champions Oncology. Dr. Tischler and colleagues have been conducting research and experiments on what they have named the “Ian GIST Model”. In addition to learning as much as they can about SDHB defficient cancers, their ultimate goal is to possibly identify drugs or compounds that can effect and possibly destroy the cancer cells.

As far as we know Dr. Tischler’s lab has the first serially transplantable SDHB-mutated GIST PDX model of a human tumor. This has prompted other researchers, such as Dr. Eyal Gottlieb of Technion University and others to request and utilize specimens of the Ian GIST Model in order to conduct their own independent research.

As you can read further below, Dr. Tischler presented his findings at the 5th International Symposium of Pheochromocytoma in Sydney, Australia in May of 2018. You can read an abstract of Dr. Tischler’s talk where he also talked about Ian, “the patient”, showed Ian’s pictures to the researchers, and discussed his battle.

Beyond Paragangliomas: Getting the GIST of Syndromically Associated Tumors

Earlier this year (2018) Dr. Tischler reported that the multidisciplinary effort by a team of collaborators that he established at Tufts and MIT with expertise in pathology, electron microscopy, metabolomics, biochemistry and intracellular signaling pathways had published a paper in a highly respected journal. This is the first major scientific paper which mentions the “Ian GIST model” and “For Ian Foundation”.

In doctor Tischler’s own words:

“Our work on the Ian GIST model to date has greatly improved our understanding of the requirements for survival of SDHB-mutated tumor cells and has obvious therapeutic implications, including potential use of agents (such as Piperlongumine) that increase oxidative stress or block signaling pathways that protect tumor cells against those drugs.”

Click below for a copy of the paper published by Dr. Tischler and his colleagues.

A unique model for SDH- deficient GIST: an endocrine related cancer

Cancer research is complicated, expensive and takes scientists who are not willing to give up. While Doctor Tischler’s and his colleagues’ work was mostly financially supported by non-profits and the institutions who employee these scientists; some of the researchers involved have simply continued their work on volunteer basis after running out of funds. In one case, a lead researcher is actually making charitable contributions out of his own personal pocket to his laboratory to keep this project afloat.

We need to help and we did. We were fortunate to be able to award funding to Dr. Tischler’s research effort this past December.

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