Exciting B+ Research Reveals Discovery

The Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation is proud to be one of the funders of the great work being done in the lab of Dr. Greg Friedman at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. As you may have seen on global media, exciting discoveries have just been revealed.

‘Outcomes are very poor for children with progressive brain cancer, and the toxicities caused by current standard therapies are unacceptably high. There is a great need for more effective and less-toxic, targeted therapies for children with brain tumors.

In a first-in-children trial recently published in New England Journal of Medicine, the team at UAB and Children’s of Alabama tested the safety and effectiveness of an immunotherapy using an altered cold-sore virus, G207. Modifications in G207 prevent injury to normal cells while allowing the virus to infect and directly kill tumor cells and also stimulate the child’s own immune system to attack the tumor.

There were three main findings from the trial. First, when infused at very high doses directly into progressive brain cancers, G207 was safe with only mild and infrequent side effects related to the therapy. This is important because children did not experience the degree of toxicities that occur with almost all other types of therapy; and therefore, their quality of life after treatment was not adversely impacted by the therapy.

Secondly, responses were seen in most of the children. In fact, the overall survival for children that received the therapy was 120% greater than their expected survival time.

Thirdly, when looking at tumor samples before and after G207 treatment, the team found that G207 resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of immune cells seen in the tumor, a term described as a “hot” tumor. This is important because typically pediatric brain tumors have very few immune cells present and are “cold”, which is the primary reason that these tumors have not responded to immunotherapies in the past. This change from “cold” to “hot” represents a critical step in the development of an effective immunotherapy for pediatric brain cancers.

While the results are very promising, this was still an early clinical trial, and the team is developing a larger, multi-institutional Phase 2 trial to confirm the exciting results. The team also continues to work hard in the lab to develop combination therapies with G207 that are designed to increase the immune system attack on the tumor to achieve even greater responses in future clinical trials.

Jake, a 12 year old NJ boy with a high grade glioma, gained enough extra months of life “to celebrate his Bar Mitzvah, go with his family to Hawaii and see a brother be born”, according to his father.  While Jake, unfortunately passed away, his father said that they “have no regrets whatsoever” about trying the treatment.”

B+ Nation, this is tremendous progress and we thank you for your support.  To be continued…


College Events

NYDM 2021 was held last Saturday and I’m so excited to report that the NYU students raised $526,600.27!  This has been a brutally difficult school year to raise money in a pandemic, but the NYDM students never gave up.

This coming weekend brings two more outstanding B+ student events.  NOVAdance and FDM will be held at Villanova University (PA) and one of my alma maters, Fordham University (NY).  I have actually been cleared to visit campus at Villanova for the event on Saturday and couldn’t be more excited.  I miss spending time, in-person, with the students.

And then, on April 25th, the granddaddy of them all, UDance, will be held in Newark, DE in a hybrid capacity.  There will be in-person activities during the day with limited crowd capacities as well as a livestream.

These students have all worked SO hard.  If you’re inclined to support any of the schools this weekend, please click on their links above.  Much appreciated.


A few personal notes:

  1.  I can’t help but share a picture of my grandson, Luke Andrew, sporting a VERY cool onesie.  This boy definitely has a guardian angel above.

2.  I would be remiss if I didn’t take a minute to give a shout-out to my big sister, Mary, who retired on March 31st.  For 43 years, Mary has alway been a champion for the marginalized and truly seeks to make the world a better, kinder place.  From working to protect children from lead paint in government housing to ensuring safe and compassion treatment in Delaware’s nursing homes, Mary has always given it her all.  For the past few decades, Mary has sat on the bench in the Court of Common Pleas in New Castle County, DE adjudicating with fairness and compassion.  Congratulations, Mary.  You have made the world a better place!


Ali & Andrew’s Dad