Today is the March for Science. Many of us can't march, but want to know what we can do to show our support for the brilliant minds who work to understand the complexities of our world and make it a better place. This is a letter from Dr. Raag Airan of Stanford University explaining how you can support the effort from home...

"Congress set aside only 3 legislative days next week to pass their next spending bill. Their current options are:

1. Passing a clean Omnibus resolution = $2 billion increase in NIH funding.
2. The Trump budget = $5.8 billion cut to NIH funding, $8.2 billion cut to EPA, and no line item for NSF!

I clearly prefer option 1.

You can let your opinion known.
Varied organizations have simple click through forms that you can use to let your representative and senators know what you are thinking.
Please take a few minutes to write to your representative and senators – and for students, please consider doing so using your home address in addition to your Stanford one.

This is particularly important if you come from a district or state with Republican federal representation.

The Academy of Radiology Research has this form: - its form letter from me is below.

Or if you want a custom letter, you can take the one from the American Society for Cell Biology:
Or, modify the multisociety letter to Congress:

Add in any specifics – like for instance, how MSTP funding (from the NIH) is critical to your success and livelihood.

Go here:

Fill in the online form and click submit.

It’s that easy. Please let me know how I may help.


A new paper out from 2 of the researchers/labs that McKenna Claire Foundation supports, Dr. Nick Vitanza (now of Seattle Children's) and Dr. Michelle Monje (Stanford).

"Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is a fatal pediatric cancer with limited therapeutic options. The majority of cases of DIPG exhibit a mutation in histone-3 (H3K27M) that results in oncogenic transcriptional aberrancies. We show here that DIPG is vulnerable to transcriptional disruption using bromodomain inhibition or CDK7 blockade. Targeting oncogenic transcription through either of these methods synergizes with HDAC inhibition, and DIPG cells resistant to HDAC inhibitor therapy retain sensitivity to CDK7 blockade. Identification of super-enhancers in DIPG provides insights toward the cell of origin, highlighting oligodendroglial lineage genes, and reveals unexpected mechanisms mediating tumor viability and invasion, including potassium channel function and EPH receptor signaling." (Cell)

One step closer to understanding this disease, which means one step closer to HOPE.

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Although Dave and I weren't able to fly out to New York to be there in person, we were fortunate enough to be able to participate in the Children's Brain Tumor Project family meeting via internet.
Because of the collaboration of families supporting researchers like those at Weill Cornell, who in turn are willing to collaborate with other researchers, NIH and pharmaceutical companies, progress in understanding is being made. And there are indications that it may be giving children some time and better quality of life.
I especially was appreciative of the acknowledgment of the cell lines that Monje lab has shared (of which McKenna's is one).