McDougall Family Establishes Andrew M. McDougall Brain Metastasis Clinic and Research Program with $5 Million Gift

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HOUSTON — Jeffrey McDougall, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, has committed $5 million on behalf of the entire McDougall family to establish the Andrew M. McDougall Brain Metastasis Clinic and Research Program at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in University of Texas. This generous commitment will be complemented by institutional philanthropic efforts, bringing the program’s funding to its goal of $10 million.

The clinic is named after McDougall’s beloved son, Andrew, who was diagnosed with stage IV melanoma in 2018 and later developed brain metastases. He ultimately succumbed to the disease in March 2021. The Andrew M. McDougall Brain Metastasis Clinic and Research Program aims to bring together clinical and scientific disciplines to discover, evaluate and deploy new treatment options for patients with brain metastases.

“Andrew was a wonderful husband, father and son. When he passed away, I wondered if it was time to move on and try to start the healing process,” said Jeffrey McDougall, President and Owner of JMA Energy Company. “But I was so committed and had come so far that I didn’t want to lay down my sword. For Andrew’s sake and for the sake of future brain metastasis patients and their families, I didn’t want that cancer wins. And I didn’t want other people to go through what we went through with Andrew.

About 300,000 cancer patients a year will experience metastases to the central nervous system, including the brain. It represents an important cause of morbidity and death in patients with advanced solid tumors such as breast cancer or melanoma. Therapeutic approaches were previously limited to local treatments such as surgery and radiotherapy. Up to 30% of patients with metastatic solid tumors are expected to develop brain metastases, leading to the exclusion of these patients from nearly all clinical trials of new systemic therapies. It’s a concern the McDougalls hope to address through a comprehensive approach to research that covers all tumor types.

“Andrew had a great sense of humor. He always had a big smile, a raised eyebrow, and a witty remark—behind his impressive beard—that made everyone around him laugh,” said Loren McDougall, wife of Andrew M. McDougall. “We are determined to carry on his legacy and hopefully spare another family the pain of a loss like Andrew’s.”

The Brain Metastasis Clinic was established in 2019 as part of MD Anderson’s efforts to drive research, discovery and innovation. The clinic is led by Hussein Tawbi, MD, Ph.D., Vice President of Melanoma Medical Oncology and Professor of Melanoma Medical Oncology and Experimental Cancer Therapeutics; Frederick Lang, MD, chairman of neurosurgery and director of the Brain Tumor Center; and Jing Li, MD, Ph.D., associate professor of radiation oncology and CNS radiation oncology section chief.

The clinic offers each patient the opportunity to be assessed by several specialists — neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists and neuroradiologists — during the same visit. Together, this team of MD Anderson clinicians assesses the multiple and complex factors affecting the patient and collaboratively develops a treatment plan for the patient’s brain metastases.

Multidisciplinary assessment maximizes patient time, eliminates trips to multiple clinics, and provides highly coordinated expert care. The clinic also serves as a resource to identify and assess patients for ongoing clinical trials, paving the way for the development of clinical trials in brain metastases. However, knowledge of the biology behind brain metastases and a full understanding of the tumor immune microenvironment in the brain remain very limited. More effective therapies and multidisciplinary approaches are needed.

“Accelerating drug discovery for patients with brain metastases and improving their outcomes requires bringing together highly talented clinical, translational and scientific researchers. Our vision is to dramatically expand the clinic’s efforts to become the nation’s most influential brain metastasis care program,” said Tawbi. “Thanks to the incredible generosity of the McDougall family and the thoughtful partnership and foresight of Jeffrey McDougall, we are poised to galvanize brain metastasis research and care at MD Anderson and extend our impact to all patients with of brain metastases nationally and worldwide. We are forever grateful for the McDougall family’s commitment to MD Anderson.

Legacy inspiring a paradigm shift

Through the generosity of the McDougall family, the Andrew M. McDougall Brain Metastasis Clinic and Research Program aims to overcome the multiple barriers that exist in the search for new therapies for patients with brain metastases by:

Invest in basic science and researchers to identify next-generation targets and treatments

Develop preclinical strategies to prioritize new compounds and combinations for clinical testing

The clinical and research program is part of a larger initiative, the Development of Strategic Research Initiatives (STRIDE), which is designed to identify, develop and support innovative approaches to address operational gaps, unmet needs met or opportunities that will subsequently impact and empower research. and, ultimately, patient care. Co-led by Andrew Futreal, Ph.D., vice president of strategic translational research programs and president of genomic medicine, and Elizabeth Burton, executive director of STRIDE, the program partners with clinical and program leadership to facilitate long-term planning and commitment.

“Andrew’s courageous three-year journey with melanoma and brain metastases has profoundly influenced our collective goals for the clinic’s vision, particularly underscoring the need to equip our multidisciplinary team with more effective approaches to curing these patients,” said Michael Davies, MD, Ph.D., president of Melanoma Medical Oncology and physician to Andrew McDougall. “Our team remains inspired by Andrew’s unwavering strength and perseverance through the most difficult times of this terrible disease. We will continue to press for patients like Andrew to make progress as we strive to Eliminate Cancer® for patients with brain metastases. »

Ryan H. Bowman