Last month, The Journey Home Project (TJHP) founded in 2014 by country music legend Charlie Daniels and his manager, David Corlew presented a $50,000 donation to Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center to aid U.S. military veterans battling cancer. The purpose of the donation is to establish The Journey Home Project CAR-T Cell Therapy Fund, which will provide leading precision care to our veterans through the navigation and engineering of CAR-T cell therapy.
David Corlew was on site at Vanderbilt-Ingram in Nashville to present the funds to Jennifer Pietenpol, PhD, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center director and Vanderbilt University Medical Center executive vice president for research, and Madan Jagasia, MBBS, MS, MMHC, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center chief medical officer.
“I have worked with Orrin Ingram and Jennifer Pietenpol for many years through my service on the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center Board of Overseers,” says Corlew. “I’m excited that The Journey Home Project will now become a part of this wonderful program that will help our veterans.” (Orrin Ingram is chair of the Board of Overseers.)
The gift will help provide lifesaving, cutting-edge cancer care to those who have served our country by enabling Vanderbilt-Ingram’s stem cell processing laboratory to process chimeric antigen receptor T cells (known as CAR-T cells) for use in patients at the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System. This therapy uses a patient’s own immune system T cells to seek and destroy cancer cells. In addition, the gift helps expand access by providing enhanced software to coordinate the collection, processing and administration of CAR-T cells. The stem cell transplant program at the Nashville VA Medical Center is one of the only Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT) accredited programs within the Veterans Administration system, a requirement to become a certified center to treat patients with CAR-T cells.
“I don’t know of a more pressing issue in the lives of our veterans than their need for aggressive health care,” adds TJHP co-founder and Country Music Hall of Fame member Charlie Daniels. “We at The Journey Home Project are very excited about the prospect of new approaches in the treatment of cancer that our CAR-T cell Therapy Fund advances, and we are committed to supporting it.”
“We are honored to help care for our veterans,” says Pietenpol. “The support from The Journey Home Project foundation and other gifts like this are very important as they enable us to provide new treatment advances that save lives.”