The Max Cure Foundation Blog

The Max Cure Foundation’s Commitment to Collaboration

Executive Director Jonathan Agin recently traveled to Seattle, Washington from June 12-14th to attend the annual meeting of the Coalition Against Childhood Cancer, also known as CAC2.  CAC2 began to take shape in 2011 to bring many different stakeholders from the childhood cancer community together to collectively raise awareness, create collaborative efforts among member organizations and reduce duplication.  Max Cure immediately saw the benefit of joining in this endeavor and today stands with close to 100 other childhood cancer related organizations and individual advocates working toward the same fight against childhood cancer.

During the meeting, members interact with some of the world’s top clinicians and researchers, members of the National Cancer Institute, FDA and the pharmaceutical industry to learn about new developments and how our collective work is impacting children with cancer.  Additionally, there are specific meetings of separate interest groups such as research, advocacy and family support to name a few.  Whereas Max Cure’s mission aligns with all of the interest groups, we have been most active with our participation in the research group.  Since 2017 when Jonathan embarked upon reshaping Max Cure’s research direction through a bold and aggressive path, our participation in collaborative groups like the CAC2 research interest group have allowed us to further ensure that Max Cure’s research funding is laser focused.  By helping to shape priorities used for collaboration by member organizations, we gain insight into how best to make research-funding decisions as well as create meaningful partnerships to accelerate results.

As part of Max Cure’s research efforts and participation in CAC2, we recently joined the International Cancer Research Partnership (ICRP).  Through the ICRP, we are better able to determine that our research dollars are not duplicating other projects that are already well funded.

The Max Cure Foundation has always held the belief that through collaboration we can achieve greater results as a community.  We feel strongly that our participation in groups like CAC2 provide the platform for our work to reach more support and create faster results as we continue to fight childhood cancer.

RACE for Children Act | Pediatric Oncology Subcommittee

Executive Director Jonathan Agin Provides Public Comment Before the Food and Drug Administration

On June 20, 2018, Executive Director Jonathan Agin provided open public comments before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Pediatric Oncology Subcommittee of the Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee on the issue of the implementation of the RACE for Children Act signed into law in August 2017.   (more…)

New Jersey Family Assistance Grant

The Max Cure Foundation was recently awarded a $10,000 grant from the Margaret and Peter Chang Foundation to help support families in the Scotch Plains, New Jersey area which is a township in Union County.  Max Cure Foundation will use these grant funds to help families in these areas that experience emergency financial situations during the course of their child’s cancer treatment.   (more…)

2017 Roar Beyond Barriers Impact Report

2017 Roar Beyond Barriers Impact Report

 

In 2017, the Max Cure Foundation was able to disburse $68,290 in financial assistance through the Roar Beyond Barriers Program. This covered a total of 53 families across 11 states, especially in the states of Pennsylvania, New York, and Ohio, the three of which made up 51% of the total population of the program. Of these funds, $1,050 was directly paid to families in emergency situations who requested help from our Emergency Grant Fund, which helps families in critical situations where utility service, rent, or other important bills require payment.  (more…)

Max Cure’s Advocacy Efforts Against the Harmful Right to Try Legislation

Max Cure’s Advocacy Efforts Against the Harmful Right to Try Legislation

The Max Cure Foundation’s advocacy efforts round out our three-prong mission and sometimes place members of our executive team at the forefront of the childhood cancer community on certain issues.  The pending legislation emotionally labeled as the Right to Try law that has been a string of individual bills introduced in Congress, and already the law in some states, is one such example of how Max Cure’s advocacy efforts are aimed at working to help children with cancer.   (more…)

Child Life Services Grant

Psychosocial Funding Makes an Impact to Support Child Life Services at Maimonides in New Jersey

Max Cure Foundation recently awarded a grant to Maimonides Medical Center as a stop-gap measure that, under our psychosocial grant program, ensures that Child Life Services and support groups are funded at the hospital. In 2017 Max Cure received a grant from Love Your Melon, which sells apparel with the intent to support pediatric cancer foundations with the profit generated by sales of high-quality and great looking knit hats and other accessories.

Part of our grant proposal was to support a psychosocial initiative at Maimonides Medical Center, a busy treatment facility in Brooklyn, which just recently needed to scale back psychosocial support to meet budget needs at the hospital. With input from the Social Work and Child Life Services departments, Max Cure was able to ensure that families will continue to receive emotional and programming support to help fight against the stresses that pediatric cancer treatment brings to the child and their family. Everyone at Max Cure is rooting for the families and staff at Maimonides Medical Center to have a great 2018 and find ways to bolster psychosocial support even further!

 

The Max Cure Foundation’s Aggressive Research Mission and Continued Legacy of Support for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

The Max Cure Foundation’s Aggressive Research Mission and Continued Legacy of Support for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Almost ten years ago, Max Plotkin sat anxiously in a small exam room at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center while his parents, Chairman and co-founder David Plotkin and mother Annemarie Plotkin waited to find out why Max’s arm looked the way it did on the x-ray securely attached to the light board.  When the dust settled, Max was treated at MSKCC for the rare diagnosis of B Cell Lymphoma of the bone.  Max’s cancer was the first pediatric case of its kind at MSKCC, and thankfully to the amazing treatment team, Max is now a ten-year survivor.  (more…)

Research Update | Because of Daniel

One of the three pillars of Max Cure’s mission is funding research.  Since our beginning, when Max was diagnosed in 2007 and fighting for his life, the understanding solidified that there was a need to fund childhood cancer research to create impact and better outcomes for many children diagnosed with cancer.  Max, being treated at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, was at a research facility that has been and continues to be on the cutting edge of the research endeavor.  And thus, even before the Max Cure Foundation gained its nonprofit status, the Max Plotkin Fund at MSKCC was created to support the innovative research conducted in the immune cell laboratory.  To date, over $1.3 million dollars has been raised and donated to research efforts by the Max Cure Foundation mainly to MSKCC but also to several other researchers.

It is critical for us to ensure that all of the components of our mission (research, financial support to low income and military families, and advocacy) are appropriately and effectively proceeding.  With the coming research award announcements, Max Cure is about to push forward with an aggressive research agenda that is aimed at creating significant change and not just funding without purpose.  Executive Director Jonathan Agin’s research vision is to fund aggressive and impactful research that is unique in nature while eliminating duplication of projects that are already funded without the need for more, or that will be funded by other organizations and do not need funding.  In the coming days, we will announce two such research projects that we are proud to stand beside and support.

Today we announce the first such research project.

Because of Daniel – Osteosarcoma Clinical Trial 

Jonathan first met Theresa Beech approximately one year ago in May of 2016.  At the time, her son Daniel was fighting relapsed and metastatic osteosarcoma.  Theresa, a satellite systems engineer (aka “rocket scientist”) was analyzing Daniel’s genetic data from his cancer in an effort to identify potential drugs to utilize as she desperately tried to save his life.  She successfully found targets within the sequencing data, worked with his doctors to obtain the drugs she identified and ultimately extended Daniel’s life for six months.  Along the way, parents of children with osteosarcoma began sending Theresa their child’s sequencing data and Theresa started compiling and analyzing the trends.  The results were startling and when she mapped it all out, what she was left with was something that looked stunningly similar to how she creates satellite systems.

Daniel unfortunately died and Theresa’s mission solidified further.  She began working with a number of select researchers to create an aggressive clinical trial for children with relapsed and metastatic osteosarcoma.  A first of its kind drug trial aimed at grouping kids into different and specific baskets for a specific drug or drug combination based upon the genetic profile and targets expressed in the tumors.

Theresa is working feverishly to unite the osteosarcoma community and raise the funds to initiate this trial.  In just a short time, she has already gained IRB (institutional review board) approval for the data analysis and collection that she is doing, a first step towards realizing the goal of providing children with relapsed and metastatic osteosarcoma with true options.  The Max Cure Foundation is proud to support this effort as we view it to be aggressive, groundbreaking and aimed squarely at generating data to address a problem (an almost universally fatal prognosis following relapse) in the childhood cancer community that lingers without an end in site.

We support this effort to initiate this clinical trial along with many in the osteosarcoma community and the researchers and clinicians that have teamed up with Theresa in her efforts Because of Daniel. On June 22, 2017, thanks to the supporters from the Run For The White House program, the Max Cure Foundation contributed $1,000 towards her research efforts and hope to be able to continue our support.

For more information, please email Executive Director Jonathan Agin: jonathan@maxcure.org.

 

Childhood Cancer, Noah’s Ark and My Daughter

Max Cure’s Executive Director Jonathan Agin is featured in Real Clear Health. “As the Executive Director of the Max Cure Foundation, I am no longer fighting for my daughter and her life.  What I am doing—and what so many of us in the childhood cancer community are doing—is fighting for the lives of all of children suffering.” (more…)

pedODAC Meeting – DIPG

Jonathan Agin, JD, Executive Director’s Public Comments before the Pediatric Subcommittee of the Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee (pedODAC) Meeting.


pedODAC with namesOn June 29, 2016, I was one of five individuals selected to present public comments at the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) pedODAC meeting in a special session dedicated to the pediatric brain tumor that took my daughter’s life,  (DIPG).   (more…)

Youth Football Turns Into Fundraising for Childhood Cancer

Youth Football Raises Money for Childhood Cancer

On May 21st and 22nd, 2016, The Max Cure Foundation and Casa Grande Union High School joined forces to host the first Cactus Classic Charity Football Tournament.

Thanks to the support of 19 Arizona youth football teams and their families, the tournament raised over $11,000 for the Arizona Roar Beyond Barriers program which provides financial support to four families in need who have a child battling cancer as well as the high school’s athletic program. (more…)

The Cancer Moonshot: Are Our Kids Stepping on the Moon Too?

kennedy moonshotOn September 12, 1962 President Kennedy delivered his famous “moonshot” speech. Declaring that as a nation, we would focus vast resources to landing a man on the moon and safely bringing that man back to earth.  (more…)

Words of Appreciation

The Max Cure Foundation was formed after the diagnosis of Max, at age 4 with cancer (Max is currently 12 years old, a 9 year childhood cancer survivor). Max Cure Foundation initiated a fundraiser for the family of the active duty U.S. Navy SEAL whose 4 year old daughter was diagnosed with cancer in August, 2015.  (more…)

Expanded Access Programs 2016

From left to right:  Ken Moch (former CEO, Chimerix); Richard Plotkin (Max Cure), Debra Birnkrant (FDA), Brooke Gladstone (NPR, Moderator), Nancy Goodman (KidsvCancer), Meg Tirrell  (CNBC)

On October 28, 2015, Richard Plotkin appeared as a panelist at a two-day colloquium at New York Academy of Science sponsored by NYU School of Medicine, NYU Langone Medical Center, and Johnson & Johnson.  The subject of the program is identified as, “Pre-Approval Access: Can Compassion, Business, and Medicine Coexist?”   (more…)

Max Cure Foundation’s 2015 Annual Appeal

You are brought into a small room: a doctor, a nurse, a social worker and you. The look on their faces is dire. You can feel the fear building; it is palpable. And then you hear the words I’m sorry, “your child has cancer.” This scenario repeats itself 43 times each day in the United States. In April 2008, my family heard those words about our 2-year-old daughter Alexis. Alexis fought against inoperable and terminal brain cancer for 33 months before passing away in January 2011. Similarly, in May 2007, David and Annemarie Plotkin heard these words about 4-year-old Max. Max now stands as a “poster child” for giving other families hope. (more…)

Progress in Action

Progress in Action: Max Cure Foundation’s Contributions to the Immune Cell Laboratory at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

As the first Executive Director of the Max Cure Foundation, I set several lofty goals that will take significant time and effort to bring to fruition. In viewing the combined three-pronged mission of MCF, one of my biggest desires was to ensure that the funding MCF has provided to the Immune Cell Laboratory at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center was indeed money well spent.  (more…)

Jonathan’s First Letter as Executive Director

On September 1, 2015 I began a new journey in my life. September 1, 2015 marks my first official day as the first Executive Director for the Max Cure Foundation. It is no small coincidence that on the same day, Childhood Cancer Awareness Month began.  (more…)