Yesterday was the second Ependymoma Awareness Day promoted by the CERN Foundation (CERN stands for Collaborative Ependymoma Research Network – not to be confused with the organisation which operates the Large Hadron Collider).
To mark the day, hundreds of monarch butterflies were released at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. Each butterfly was intended to symbolise the hope of improved treatments for ependymoma sufferers.
You can watch a news report on the butterfly release here.
Update: the CERN Foundation has just released its report on the day, as well as its own video of the butterfly release (much better quality than the news report).
Hundreds of brightly colored butterflies covered the skies over St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as they were released by patients, scientists and doctors to mark the second annual Ependymoma Awareness Day on April 18, 2013. Ependymoma is a rare cancer of the brain or spinal cord that strikes children and adults. The event is organized by the Collaborative Ependymoma Research Network (CERN) Foundation.
CERN’s scientists and clinicians work in concert to better understand and speed advances against ependymoma in both pediatric and adult patients. St. Jude leads the pediatric studies, and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center leads the adult studies.
The butterfly release coincided with the semi-annual CERN investigator meeting at St. Jude. The butterfly release symbolizes the buoyed hope of improved treatments for this devastating cancer through collaboration.
“Through this team science approach, talented researchers are uniting in one cause that studies ependymoma from the laboratory to the clinic and across the life span,” said Richard Gilbertson, M.D., Ph.D., Comprehensive Cancer Center director at St. Jude and co-principal investigator of CERN. “Our collaboration with CERN is a natural extension of St. Jude’s cornerstone philosophy to freely share research and discoveries as a means to advance cures worldwide.”
CERN began in 2006 to jumpstart ependymoma research globally. Since then, more than 20 institutions have joined the endeavor. More than 80 patients have been enrolled in CERN clinical trials and discoveries in the laboratory are fueling progress.