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Annual Meeting of the Brain & Lung Tumor and Air Pollution Foundation

2009 Annual Report

1. Background

In February, 2003, the Board established the Brain Tumor and Air Pollution Foundation. In March, 2004 the Foundation amended its Articles of Incorporation to change its name to Brain & Lung Tumor and Air Pollution Foundation and to specify that its purpose is related to the effects of air pollution on brain and lung cancer. The mission of the Foundation is to support research studies on the association between air pollution and brain and lung cancer, as well as research for the development of novel therapeutics for such tumors. To carry out its purpose, the Foundation has funded research projects investigating the links between air pollution and brain and lung tumors. The dollar amount of the funding received to date is $3,722,568. The current projects are described below.

2. Directors and Officers

The Directors of the Foundation are:

Michael D. Antonovich, Chairman

 

Dennis Yates, Vice Chairman

 

Bill Campbell

 

Dr. Thomas Godfrey

 

Josie Gonzalez

 

 

The Foundation’s staff is:

Barry Wallerstein, Chief Executive Officer

 

Denise Whitcher, Secretary

 

Lisa Virgo, Treasurer


3. Report on the Foundation’s Activities

Current Research Projects

In 2008, the Foundation Board approved funding for the following projects.

A. Brain Tumors and Air Pollution
Principal Investigator: Dr. Keith Black, Cedars Sinai Medical Center
Approved Funding: $1,250,000
Allocated Funding: $625,000

In previous studies funded by the Foundation, the researchers discovered that the activities of several genes were altered in laboratory animals exposed to concentrated ambient particulate pollutants. These genes may play a significant role in the development of brain tumors. In the new study, a more detailed analysis at the molecular level is being conducted. Individual areas of the brain, as well as other organs, are being included to determine if there are specific tissue types that are affected by particulate matter exposures. The research is being done in collaboration with the UC Irvine School of Medicine. This project is currently ongoing, and a report of results is expected by the end of this year.

B. Childhood Brain Tumors and Air Pollution
Principal Investigator: Roberta McKean-Cowdin, Ph.D., USC School of Medicine
Approved Funding: $220,000
Allocated Funding: $199,627

In a preliminary epidemiologic investigation on the potential role of air pollution with brain tumor risk funded by the Foundation, the researchers found a significant association of risk of brain tumors in children and exposure to PM2.5. The study population included children between the ages of 0-5 years diagnosed with brain tumors from in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties from 1991 through 2002. This new study is conducting additional analyses including more detailed estimates of PM2.5 exposure based on geospatial extrapolations of monitoring data, and also includes distance of residential address from roadways as an estimate of exposure to traffic-related pollutant emissions. The study population is being expanded to include data from the West Coast Childhood Brain Tumor study. The latter database includes children aged 1-19 years diagnosed with brain tumors in Los Angeles county from 1984 through 1991. This project is currently ongoing, and a report of results is expected by the end of this year.

4. Financial Report

As of December 31, 2009, the Foundation had a cash balance of $689,263. Following is an accounting of the Foundation’s operations since its inception (7/23/03):

Revenue from Operations

Contributions

$3,722,568

Interest Income

36,256

Total Revenue from Operations

$3,758,824

Operating Expenses

Grants Awarded

-Cedars-Sinai

$2,684,250

-USC

377,967

Corporation Filing Costs

820

Bank charges

524

Professional fees-audit

6,000

Total Operating Expenses

$3,069,561

Cash Balance, 12/31/09

$689,263


5. Plans for Upcoming Year

The Foundation will continue monitoring the progress of existing research projects. The Foundation will evaluate potential new projects and provide funding to the extent that additional funds become available.

The Foundation Board asked that any funds transferred to the Health Effects Research Fund by the AQMD Governing Board be reserved for the Foundation’s use to support brain and lung tumor and air pollution research, but not transferred until specific projects are identified by the Foundation Board. The Foundation Board also asked staff to prepare a plan for future research.




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