More than 800 people gathered for A Brilliant Night on Oct. 18, at Le Salon Richmond for the third edition of this chic cocktail dinatoire. Attendees were dazzled by mesmerizing dance numbers and innovative multi-media presentations, while they enjoyed gastronomic delights donated by some of Montreal’s finest dining establishments.
It was a brilliant night that surpassed expectations, and when all was tallied, the total raised was an incredible $1.223 million. Costs for the event were kept extremely low thanks to those who generously donated time, goods and services – meaning some 90 per cent of the proceeds will be donated directly to brain cancer research at The Neuro.
These funds support the Brain Tumour Program, one of the largest and most comprehensive brain tumour research and treatment programs in the country. Areas of research include, but are not limited to, uncovering fundamental regulatory mechanisms that govern brain cancer development, regulate brain cancer stem cell self-renewal and differentiation, drive invasion and lead to treatment resistance. State-of-the-art technologies include next generation genomic and epigenomic testing, computational biology approaches, cell-based assays for drug screening, patient-derived cranial xenograft modeling and small animal imaging.
Researchers are also developing individualized brain cancer treatment programs for each patient. Known as precision medicine, this treatment approach for brain cancer allows doctors to tailor treatment to patients’ biological characteristics.
Ten years ago, the average survival rate for patients with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) – the most aggressive form of brain cancer – was less than one year. Thanks to recent advances, it is now more than 20 months, with many patients living beyond five years. However, there is still a long way to go to reduce the suffering of patients and their families caused by this disease.
During A Brilliant Night, Chief of Neurosurgery Dr. Kevin Petrecca announced some exciting new research findings. “Now we know many of the changes that occur in brain cells to cause this cancer. And we are now, in a more enlightened way, developing therapeutic strategies to treat this cancer,” he said. “There is absolutely no way this work could have happened over the past three years without the financial support of A Brilliant Night.”
“We owe the success of this event to all the people who, by their presence and participation, accept to be touched by this cause and recognize the importance of fundamental research,” says Marie-Claude Lacroix, an event organizer who lost her 27-year old son Francis to brain cancer in 2010. “Moreover, the teamwork between the scientific researchers and the organizing committee allowed guests to learn more about the progress they are helping create with their generous donations and sponsorships. Thanks to everyone involved!”