BERKOWITZ AND KNOTT FUND FOR
Brain Tumor Research
at Massachusetts General Hospital
Knott couldn't get her glasses clean. No matter
how many times she wiped them off, she still saw spots.
Concerned about her vision, Lisa went to the eye doctor,
who detected a problem and referred her to a general practitioner
for a brain scan. Lisa, then 33, was eight months pregnant
with her third child. Within days, doctors called her
to the hospital to give her and her husband, Tom, some
terrible news: Lisa had a brain tumor.
Berkowitz had gone through a similar experience
six months earlier. David, then 34, had just run in the
Boston Marathon and seemed to be in excellent health.
One day at his office in Manhattan, he started to dial
the phone and found that his fingers kept slipping off
the keys. His right hand, from his fingertips to his wrist,
felt like it was asleep. As David stood up, his arm dragged
across his desk, knocking papers to the floor. He knew
something was terribly wrong. He took a cab to his doctor's
office and had a brain scan that afternoon, canceling
a vacation to Italy that he and his wife, Nancy, had planned.
Within hours, David found out that he had a brain tumor.
realized he would need surgery, so he immediately began
searching for the best treatment he could find. He was
led to Robert Ojemann, MD, a neurosurgeon at Massachusetts
General Hospital and perhaps the most renowned in the
world for removing benign tumors on the covering of the
wanted to find the best doctor in the whole world to do
this operation," David says." The consensus
opinion was Dr. Ojemann. "David and Nancy met
immediately with Dr. Ojemann, who scheduled surgery. David
went through an eight-hour operation and walked out of
the hospital a few days later with a clean bill of health.
Within two weeks, he and Nancy were expecting their
first child, Sarah Hannah, now 21 months old. David is
Knott was a business acquaintance of David
and had visited him at the hospital after his surgery.
When he and Lisa heard the news from their doctor, Tom
called David for advice. Without hesitation, David
recommended Dr. Ojemann.
this happened to Lisa, it was incredible irony, but we
were lucky to have a friend like David help us through
this," Tom says.
the ordeal, David was at the Knotts' side to lend them
support. Three days after Lisa found out about the brain
tumor, doctors induced labor, and she gave birth to a
healthy girl, Kiley, now 2 years old. Lisa waited nearly
three months to recover from childbirth before undergoing
the surgery. She went through an 11-hour operation and
made a quick recovery. She is now completely recovered.
left, David and Nancy Berkowitz, Lisa and Tom Knott
David Berkowitz and Lisa Knott believe they are well today
because of the skilled care of Dr. Ojemann. The two families
created the Berkowitz and Knott Fund for Brain Tumor Research
at the Massachusetts General Hospital in honor of Robert
G. Ojemann, MD. They have raised substantial support for
the Brain Tumor Center and hope to continue to build upon
decided we wanted to give something back so other people
won't have to go through the same experience," Tom
says. "Eventually, the real hope is to find out what
causes brain tumors and to prevent them altogether."
Brain Tumor Center and the Molecular Neuro-Oncology Laboratories
The Brain Tumor Center at the Massachusetts
General Hospital is dedicated to the highly specialized
care of patients with brain tumors. The center offers
a distinctive environment where the study of brain tumors
combines numerous specialties to deliver sophisticated,
compassionate care. Assembled by Robert Ojemann, MD, the
center's director, the core group consists of a range
of clinicians working under the umbrella of the MGH Cancer
Center, from the Departments of Neurology, Neurosurgery
and Radiation Oncology.
also works closely with the departments of Neuropathology
and Neuroradiology.The Brain Tumor Center is committed
to four goals:
provide the highest-quality care to patients with brain
develop and study new treatments for brain tumor patients;
investigate the mechanisms involved in the formation
and growth of brain tumors
educate new brain tumor specialists.
receive the most sophisticated care available. Each week,
30 to 40 specialists -- physicians, nurses and other experts
-- meet to discuss new cases and to resolve the complexities
of treating current cases. This team approach enables
the patient's physician to draw on the expertise and experience
of the center's many skilled caregivers when recommending
Ojemann, MD, right is one of the world's most renowned
Tumor Center works in partnership with the Molecular Neuro-Oncology
Laboratories to create a remarkably strong resource for
advances in the treatment of brain tumors. Scientists
at the center seek to understand the molecular and genetic
mechanisms that cause tumors to form and grow within the
brain. Physicians then use this information to develop,
assess and exploit new therapies for the treatment of
tumors. In a major project, clinicians and scientists
in the laboratories have focused their energies on understanding
the gene mutations involved in the formation and progression
of brain tumors. Mapping the pathways of tumor formation
is critically important because it gives researchers an
improved ability to detect changes in genes or chromosomes
and predict whether a patient is likely to respond to
treatment. The distinctive nature of the Brain Tumor Center
allows for the quickest possible transfer of discoveries
made in the laboratory to treatments for patients.
of the depth of expertise brought by the staff, the Brain
Tumor Center is able to fulfill its wide-ranging mission
to offer diagnosis and treatment, while conducting basic
and clinical research and sponsoring academic training
through a fellowship program, directed by Tracy Batchelor,
Brain Tumor Center, scientists are conducting cutting-edge
research that has already yielded promising treatments.
A team of 30 researchers works side by side with physicians
to understand why tumors form and to find ways to turn
laboratory results into new treatments.
the direction of E. Antonio Chiocca, MD, PhD, investigators
are successfully using gene therapy in the laboratory
to suppress tumors. New genes are placed in tumor cells,
thereby suppressing tumor growth. In another type of therapy,
genes are used either to kill tumor cells or to make them
more susceptible to chemotherapy. These promising methods
will soon be available as therapies for brain tumor patients.
approach, under the direction of David N. Louis, MD, focuses
on genetic abnormalities in brain tumors. Dr. Louis and
his team are studying abnormal genes in tumors to understand
why tumors form and to predict a patient's responsiveness
to treatment. Dr. Louis has made great strides in clarifying
the genetic pathways for different types of tumors. These
pathways could have far-reaching implications for how
these tumors are treated.
of the Brain Tumor Center have access to the most current
therapies, often before they are made available to the
general public. Massachusetts General Hospital is a founding
member of a national program, New Approaches to Brain
Tumor Therapy (NABTT), sponsored by the National Cancer
Institute and run by Johns Hopkins University. As a participant,
the MGH has access to newly developed drugs that are not
yet being marketed nationwide. In addition, the MGH works
with pharmaceutical companies to make other new therapies
available to patients. With additional philanthropic support,
the center could offer these promising treatments to even
you can help
and Knott Fund has raised a substantial amount of money
toward brain tumor research. But experts have only started
to tap the possibilities for treating this often-deadly
disease. They hope one day to eradicate the tumors that
cause so much suffering to patients and their families.
support is greatly needed to help ensure that many others
like Lisa and David have the chance to lead healthy and
productive lives. By making a gift to the Brain Tumor
Center, you enable scientists to pursue better treatments,
physicians to offer more sophisticated care and patients
to have greater hope of living longer, healthier lives.
would like to support the Brain Tumor Center by giving
to the Berkowitz and Knott Fund, please mail your donation
100 Charles River Plaza, Suite 600
Boston, MA 02114-2792.
the Development Office at: