Family and friends of Caroline Vandemark joined with HackensackUMC physicians to honor her memory and support brain and spine tumor research. They gathered at the Chart House in Weehawken, NJ, for dinner and the presentation of a $100,000 check to benefit the Caroline Vandemark Fund for Brain and Spine Tumor Research.
“It’s a close group of family and friends who volunteer to plan the annual 5K run and other events that support the fund,” said Samuel Goldlust, M.D., medical director of the Brain and Spine Institute at the John Theurer Cancer Center at HackensackUMC.
“Events like the Caroline 5K are paramount to support our clinical trials program, which allows us to bring promising new treatments to patients with glioblastoma (GBM),” said George Kaptain, M.D., director, Division of Neuro-oncology and Skull-base Surgery, Department of Neurosurgery at HackensackUMC.
The donation was made through the HackensackUMC Foundation in memory of Vandemark, who was diagnosed with GBM prior to her senior year in college. She was 22 years old when she passed away in 2013. The fund honors her memory by supporting promising research.
Dr. Goldlust is the principal investigator of two clinical trials presented this month at the 20th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Society for Neuro-Oncology in San Antonio. The ongoing trials use TPI 287, a new chemotherapy drug designed to pass through the “blood brain barrier or BBB,” one of our brains’ natural defenses. “Scientists have known for decades that GBM cells respond well to a number of chemotherapies,” Goldlust commented. “The problem has been finding a way to outsmart the BBB that wants to keep those medicines out.”
Although the primary goal of the studies is to establish the safety of TPI 287, on average, patients are living twice as long as typically seen after traditional chemotherapy and radiation have stopped working.
The Brain and Spine Institute at the John Theurer Cancer Center at HackensackUMC offers cutting-edge clinical care and research for primary and metastatic brain tumors. The Institute is led by Dr. Goldlust, a neuro-oncologist, and George Kaptain, M.D., a neurosurgeon. Drs. Goldlust and Kaptain are dedicated to advancing the care of their patients by improving both survival and quality of life.
About Hackensack University Medical Center
HackensackUMC, a 775- bed nonprofit teaching and research hospital located in Bergen County, NJ, is the largest provider of inpatient and outpatient services in the state. Founded in 1888 as the county’s first hospital, it is the flagship hospital of Hackensack University Health Network, one of the largest health networks in the state comprised of 1,717 beds, more than 10,000 team members and 3,300 credentialed physicians. HackensackUMC was listed as the number one hospital in New Jersey in U.S. News & World Report’s 2015-16 Best Hospital rankings - maintaining its place atop the NJ rankings since the rating system was introduced. It was also named one of the top four New York Metro Area hospitals. HackensackUMC is the only hospital in New Jersey, New York and New England to be named one of Healthgrades America's 50 Best Hospitals™ nine consecutive years, and receive the Healthgrades Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence™ 13 years in a row. The medical center is one of the top 25 green hospitals in the country according to Practice Greenhealth, and received 24 Gold Seals of Approval™ by The Joint Commission – more than any other hospital in the country. It was the first hospital in New Jersey and second in the nation to become a Magnet® recognized hospital for nursing excellence; receiving its fifth consecutive designation in 2014. HackensackUMC has created an entire campus of award-winning care, including: the John Theurer Cancer Center; the Heart & Vascular Hospital; and the Sarkis and Siran Gabrellian Women’s and Children’s Pavilion, which houses the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital and Donna A. Sanzari Women’s Hospital, which was designed with The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center and listed on the Green Guide’s list of Top 10 Green Hospitals in the U.S. HackensackUMC is the Hometown Hospital of the New York Giants and the New York Red Bulls and is Official Medical Services Provider to The Barclays PGA Golf Tournament. It remains committed to its community through fundraising and community events. To learn more, visit: www.HackensackUMC.org.