April 24, 2012

From "Momentum": "Brain cells gone wild: New possibilities for taming deadly brain tumors"

After three months of chemotherapy for glioblastoma, Michael Greene blows out the candles on his custom birthday cake to celebrate his 15th birthday on Aug 20, 1993.

After three months of chemotherapy for glioblastoma, Michael Greene blows out the candles on his custom birthday cake to celebrate his 15th birthday on Aug 20, 1993.

by Leigh MacMillan

Every year on Aug. 20, Janet Greene bakes a special cake to celebrate her son Michael’s birthday. It’s a chocolate cake recipe that Michael concocted when he was a Cub Scout for a father-son cake baking contest.

On his last birthday, Michael would have turned 33.

“He was a quiet, hard-working, kind, generous, courageous guy,” Greene says of Michael, who died at age 16 from a glioblastoma – the most rapidly fatal form of brain cancer.

After three months of chemotherapy for glioblastoma, Michael Greene blows out the candles on his custom birthday cake to celebrate his 15th birthday on Aug 20, 1993.

In the nearly 20 years since Michael started the treatments that ultimately failed him, only incremental progress has been made in treating glioblastomas. There’s no cure.

“This is unacceptable,” says Michael’s father, David Greene.

Janet and David Greene believe the best hope for finding solutions and cures for brain cancer lies in research. Since 2004, they have funded a discovery grant in brain tumor research at Vanderbilt University.

Read the whole story from the latest issue of Momentum, the magazine of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, here.