Brain Tumor Advocates Remember Ted Kennedy One Year Later Print E-mail
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Wednesday, 25 August 2010 23:22

This week marks the anniversary of the passing of Senator Ted Kennedy who, one year ago, lost his battle with deadly brain cancer.

 Miles for Hope Executive Director Barb Gibbs is asking Americans to take a moment today and to honor Senator Kennedy for his relentless pursuit for better treatments for cancer and for his tireless dedication to try to improve health care here in the United States.

Gibbs knows first-hand how devastating brain tumors are as both her husband and son were diagnosed with them within one year of each other. “Brain tumors affect over 200,000 people each year, one person every 3 minutes in the United States.”, stated Gibbs. Robert Gibbs, her husband, was diagnosed in 2004 with brain cancer. However, thanks to saving his tumor tissue and using it to create an experimental brain cancer vaccine from Northwest Biotherapeutics, Inc. (OTCBB: NWBO.OB), a development stage biotechnology company which engages in the discovery, development, and commercialization of immunotherapy products; he defies the odds and is still alive today, 6 years later. 

Brain tumor symptoms tend to be the same as other illnesses. Many times, symptoms don’t immediately raise flags that alert a physician to diagnose a brain tumor. Most primary brain tumors are considered rare, although the rate of incidence is increasing. Due to the fact that many of the symptoms are generalized and mirror other illnesses, physicians often don’t evaluate patients right off the bat for brain tumors. Physicians generally rule out other less serious conditions first.

Brain tumor symptoms vary greatly from person to person because of two factors: where the tumor is located and the size of the tumor. The size of the tumor, however, does not affect the severity of symptoms. A very small tumor can cause severe symptoms; it’s all relative to what part of the brain is affected and where the tumor is located.

Since your brain controls all functions of the body, symptoms can vary depending on where the tumor is located in the brain. If the tumor is located within an area that controls vision, then a patient may experience visual issues; whereas if the tumor is located in an area that controls motor functions or movement, then a patient may experience difficulty in moving arms, legs or hands.

The most common symptoms associated with a brain tumor include headaches, vomiting, personality or mood changes, seizures, changes in vision or hearing, changes in speech or physical changes in motor function. 

Since his diagnosis, Robert and Barb launched Miles for Hope, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, as a means to increase awareness and funding to combat the disease. “Through our organization, patients can find information on the latest, most advanced options available for the treatment of brain tumors as well as receive flight assistance for patients who need to travel for treatment,” stated Robert Gibbs. “Our mission is to raise awareness and funding for brain tumor research as well as cutting edge clinical trials leading to treatments that provide a better quality of life for brain tumor patients”.

Currently, Miles for Hope focuses their funding efforts strictly on treatments that provide a better quality of life for brain tumor patients such as tumor tissue banking and cutting edge vaccines, such as the one that has extended his life. “As a patient myself, I am living proof that brain tumor vaccines hold many benefits that cannot be obtained by current treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation”, stated Robert Gibbs. “Vaccines continue to harness great potential but in order to prove their effectiveness, we need to provide continual funding to the researchers across the country; the Moving Towards A Cure® events provide this vehicle in addition to raising much needed awareness of this deadly disease”.

Miles for Hope is the first organization in the country to be instrumental in giving patients the ability to store cancer tissue, known as tumor banking. This is similar in the way that cord blood is stored for more personalized treatments and for future access to cancer vaccine clinical trials as they move through the clinical trial process. In addition to vaccine clinical trials, tumor tissue can be tested with different chemotherapy agents in order to determine which will work best for a patient’s own tumor. This will ultimately lead towards a more personalized approach to cancer treatment resulting in better outcomes for patients. 

For  additional information on upcoming Moving Towards A Cure® events, to make a donation, or to hold an event in your area, visit Miles for Hope at or contact them at (727) 781-HOPE (4673). Donations can also be made securely online through the group's website.

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