Glioblastoma Multiforme Claimed His Life. A Foundation Named for Him Is Fighting Back

This glioblastoma multiforme stuff is no joke. In July 2005, Ben Ivy was diagnosed with the extremely aggressive brain cancer, and in November of that year, he passed away. In 2011, James Broach was diagnosed with the same thing, and he passed away in August, two years later.

Glioblastoma multiforme is always fatal, and it’s fast: Even with treatment, median survival time is only about 15 months. And did I mention it’s incurable, too? Most cancer drugs are unable to cross the blood-brain barrier, which pings them away like so many misguided ping pong balls.

It’s a rare cancer, accounting for only about 2-3 cases per 100,000. But if you or a loved one has the disease, you don’t focus on its rarity. You focus on the fact that people have been dying from GBM for a long time, and the fact that the mortality rate for brain cancer hasn’t budged in twenty years. And then, if you’re able, you do something about it. Ben Ivy took his investment advisory funds and founded the Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation; James Broach, an investment banker, used his personal wealth to found the Broach Foundation for Brain Cancer Research.

The Broach Foundation just announced a big $5 million pledge to support GMB research at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, where Broach was treated. To honor the pledge, two patient pods will be named for James Broach and his wife, Jamie.

The funds will help forward “smart bomb” research attempting to modify cold virus cells so they target tumor cells. Like the Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation, the JBFCR seems to be investing in genetic medicine as the future of brain cancer treatments.

With an absolutely dismal funding success rate at the NIH, anyone looking for funding for brain cancer research must pursue private foundations like Ivy and Broach, and hope for luck. The Broach Foundation is open to LOIs, if you’re interested in applying.