Researcher Receives First HEADRUSH Award

Award Presentation; John Kuo, MD, PhD, receives first HEADRUSH awardMADISON – John Kuo, MD, PhD, was recently awarded the first HEADRUSH Brain Tumor Professorship Research Award at the University of Wisconsin Carbone Comprehensive Cancer Center.

"This is really a testament to [HEADRUSH founders Chris and Brandi Funk]," said Dr. Kuo, chair of the Carbone Comprehensive Cancer Center brain tumor clinical trials group, and co-director of the multidisciplinary brain tumor clinic. "It's a celebration of what they have been able to do in a very short period of time. I am very honored to receive the award."

Shortly after being diagnosed with a grade 2/3 glioma in 2001, Chris Funk, with his wife Brandi, wanted to give back to the cancer community. They formed HEADRUSH, a non-profit organization whose mission is to significantly improve the future of brain tumor research, treatment and survivorship through the HEADRUSH Brain Tumor Research Professorship at the Carbone Cancer Center.

"This is a dream come true," said Chris Funk during the award presentation. "We never expected to have this happen as fast as it has."

In four years, HEADRUSH and the HEADRUSH Event Team raised enough money to endow a professorship at the Carbone Cancer Center.

"Chris and Brandi Funk have taken phenomenal initiative following Chris's diagnosis," said Minesh Mehta, MD, program leader for imaging and radiation sciences at the Carbone Cancer Center. "They've done more than anyone might have conceived could be done in the hands of a bright and energetic couple to advance brain cancer research."

Dr. Kuo, assistant professor of neurological surgery and human oncology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, was selected to receive the award in part due to his research on cancer stem cells. Dr. Kuo and colleagues in his brain tumor research lab are studying cancer stem cells to unlock clues about why brain cancer rapidly recurs despite aggressive surgery, followed by radiation and chemotherapy. The long-term goal of their research is to translate advances in understanding cancer stem cell biology into novel, more effective therapies.

Commenting about the incredible support they've received to make the HEADRUSH award possible, Chris Funk said, "It's things like this that help everyone be able to make a difference in the world and it's people like Dr. Kuo who have the incredible intelligence and incredible determination who can make that change."

HEADRUSH raises funds through an annual fall event that increases awareness of brain tumors and their impact, while enjoying the outdoors with friends and family. This year's event will be Saturday, September 27th, 2008, at Blue Mound State Park, Blue Mounds, Wis.
(Top) Photo Credit: Chris Frazee/Media Solutions 

Date Published: 06/11/2008

News tag(s):  neurosurgery

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