Believe Ball 2017-10-27T16:07:48+00:00
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Write a Better Story for Children Fighting Cancer

Childhood cancer patients often follow a similar storyline: diagnosis followed by treatment with chemotherapy or radiation. However, even when children reach remission, many develop long-term side effects or secondary cancers as a result of these harsh treatments. We want to write a better story for these heroes – one with less toxic treatments and without fear of relapse, or loss of life.

The inaugural Believe Ball will bring together patients, survivors, families, physicians, researchers, and others who are passionate about finding a cure for childhood cancers. Open to the public, this elegant and inspirational evening will feature a cocktail reception, seated dinner, silent auction, entertainment, and program. Join us as we write the next chapter of childhood cancer research!

When: Saturday, October 28, 2017 from 6:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Where: Valley Forge Casino Resort, King of Prussia, PA

The Believe Ball supports our mission of funding childhood cancer research that will lead to the discovery of more targeted and less toxic treatments for children and raise awareness for childhood cancers, cancer research, and clinical trials. Together, we can write a better story for these heroes!

Special Guests

Emcee

MaryEllen Pann is the Chief Meteorologist at FOX43 TV in York, PA. MaryEllen started her career late in life when she went back to school in her thirties for meteorology. She has been with FOX for almost 20 years, and as of 2012, became the first Chief Meteorologist in the Harrisburg, York and Lancaster TV market.

MaryEllen met Emily, Tom and Kari Whitehead at the Blood, Sweat and Tears 5 Miler in November 2016, where she was the emcee. The event was a benefit for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and the Emily Whitehead Foundation, held in Lebanon County. MaryEllen loves dedicating her time to charities and events which bring help in fundraising for research, much needed causes, and anything that helps children or adults in need.

Speaker

Carl June is the Director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies at the Perelman School of Medicine, and Director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at the University of Pennsylvania. He maintains a research laboratory that studies various mechanisms of lymphocyte activation that relate to immune tolerance and adoptive immunotherapy for cancer and chronic infection.

In 2011, his research team published findings detailing a new therapy in which patients with refractory and relapsed chronic lymphocytic leukemia were treated with genetically engineered versions of their own T cells. The treatment has also now also been used with promising results to treat children with refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and adults with refractory lymphoma. CTL019, the CAR T cell developed in the June laboratory was the first gene therapy to be approved by the US FDA in August 2017.

Speaker

Dr. Bruce Levine is the Barbara and Edward Netter Professor in Cancer Gene Therapy in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the Director of the Clinical Cell and Vaccine Production Facility (CVPF) at the Abramson Cancer Center and Perelman School of Medicine and the Deputy Director of Technology Innovation and Assessment for the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies.

He is an alumnus of the University of Pennsylvania and received his Ph.D. in Immunology and Infectious Diseases from the Johns Hopkins University.

Speaker

Stephan Grupp, MD PhD, is the Chief of the Cellular Therapy and Transplant Section, Director of the Cancer Immunotherapy Program, and Director of Translational Research in the Center for Childhood Cancer Research at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), and the Yetta Dietch Novotny Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania.

His primary area of clinical research is the use of engineered cell therapies in high risk pediatric cancers, and he has led the largest and most successful engineered T cell therapy clinical trial conducted to date (CART19/CTL019 (1, 2)). His primary laboratory interest is the development of new cell therapy treatments for pediatric cancers and the molecular control of leukemic cell growth.

Speaker

Ross Kauffman is the Academy Award®-winning filmmaker of the documentary BORN INTO BROTHELS. The film was shown the world over and received a multitude of awards, including the 2005 Emmy Award for Best Documentary, National Board of Review Best Documentary and the Sundance Film Festival Audience Award.

In 2014, Ross (with Katy Chevigny) directed E-TEAM, a Netflix Original documentary about four intrepid human rights investigators. The film debuted at The Sundance Film Festival and garnered Kauffman the Best Cinematography Award for a Documentary Feature. Along with documentary features, Kauffman produces branded content and short films. FIRE WITH FIRE is a 3-minute short about an oncology unit at the University of Pennsylvania as they attempt to develop a cure for leukemia using a disabled form of the HIV virus. The film went viral collecting over 20 million hits and has helped raise millions of dollars for cancer research.

In 2009, he served as Executive Producer on the documentary feature IN A DREAM, short-listed for the Academy Awards and nominated for an Emmy. Ross co-founded and serves as Creative Director of Fictionless, a media company based in New York City.

Speaker

Samuele Butera is the Global Cell & Gene Therapies Business Leader at Novartis Oncology. In this role, he is responsible for leading and overseeing all Novartis activities to ensure the successful global launch of this novel category of medicines. Samuele was assigned to this position to help ensure these important therapies are quickly and efficiently brought to patients around the world who have limited treatment options.

Currently, Samuele is leading the global launch of the first Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-Cell (CAR-T) Therapy known as CTL019, which received FDA approval in August 2017 under the brand name Kymriah™, for children and young adults with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia that is refractory or has relapsed at least twice.

This speaker was previously listed as Bill Hinshaw, for whom Samuele is filling in.

CAR-T Cell Family

Amy and Greg Kappen are from Florence, KY, located near Cincinnati, OH. Their daughter, Sophia, was a patient in the Phase II CAR-T cell therapy clinical trial at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) in fall 2016. Prior to their daughter’s treatment, the Kappens were one of many families in contact with Emily Whitehead Foundation co-founders Tom and Kari Whitehead, seeking advice about entering the trial. In July 2017, Amy joined the Whiteheads at the FDA advisory committee meeting to speak in favor of the treatment receiving approval.

CAR-T Cell Family

Don and Michelle McMahon live in the Atlanta, GA area with their three sons, Sean, 18, Connor, 16, and Declan, 11. Don is a business owner and Michelle is an elementary school teacher. Their son Connor was first diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) just three months before his 4th birthday. After experiencing multiple relapses in the years that followed, Connor was accepted into the CAR-T cell trial at Duke University in October 2016. Connor and his brothers all play ice hockey and dream of playing at college and beyond.

CAR-T Cell Family

Dana and Chris Lee live in Ocean Township, NJ with their four daughters, Lexi, Lauren, Abby and Tori. Dana is an elementary school teacher and high school track coach in Ocean Township, and Chris is the COO of Fitness Holdings LLC, based out of Greenwich, CT. The youngest of the family, their “beautiful warrior” Tori, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) in 2008, shortly after her 5th birthday. In April 2013, Tori became patient #10 in the Phase I CAR-T cell therapy clinical trial at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).

Honoree

A renowned philanthropist, Barbara Netter is the Co-Founder and Honorary Chairman of the Alliance for Cancer Gene therapy. In 2014, Barbara received the 2014 America Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (ASGCT) Distinguished Service Award on behalf of ACGT. This award recognizes an organization that has consistently fostered and enhanced the field of genetic and cellular therapy. That same year, she established the Barbara and Edward Netter Professorship in Cancer Gene Therapy for Bruce Levine at the University of Pennsylvania’s Abramson Cancer Center.

Believe Ball 2017 Sponsors

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Novartis

Platinum

Penn Medicine

Aldevron

Gold

Silver

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