West Cancer Introduces New Therapy, Unveils Collaboration

The West Cancer Center has introduced a new non-invasive therapy for treating brain cancer.

The Optune is a portable device that uses low-intensity electric fields to inhibit cancer cell replication, which kills those cells. West Cancer Center says it’s the first FDA-approved therapy in more than a decade to show a significant increase in overall survival rates for newly diagnosed adult Glioblastoma Multiforme patients.

With word of the new treatment also comes an announcement that West Cancer Center is collaborating with Semmes Murphey Clinic PC to launch West Cancer Center’s Comprehensive Neuro-Oncology Program.

The comprehensive program will be led by West Cancer Center medical oncologist Dr. Manjari Pandey; West Cancer Center director of radiation oncology Dr. Matthew Ballo; and Semmes Murphey neurosurgeons Drs. Jeff Sorenson and Madison Michael.

A key focus for the Comprehensive Neuro-Oncology Program will be investigative research and improvement of care for GBM through Optune therapy.

– Andy Meek

3-Time Champ Nishikori Plays At Racquet Club Wednesday

Japan’s Kei Nishikori, the world’s No. 7 player, takes aim at a fourth straight tournament title in Memphis on Wednesday night, Feb. 10, at The Racquet Club. The top seed in the Memphis Open presented by ServiceMaster, Nishikori received a first-round bye.

After winning the championship here last year, Nishikori achieved a career-best No. 4 world ranking for a brief time.

“When you win the tournament you always get good confidence and great energy from that week,” said Nishikori, who is hoping another victory here can help him up to the Top 5 and a longer stay there. “It really changes your tennis, too. You can be more aggressive.”

Most recently, Nishikori is coming off a quarterfinal appearance at the Australian Open. For his career, he has 10 ATP singles championships.

He always has a good vibe in Memphis and after practicing on Monday, Feb. 8, he said he would have to adjust to the ball being used here and the slower playing surface, but added, “I am feeling good.”

Visit memphisopen.com for ticket information and other details about the tournament, which runs through Sunday, Feb. 14, at The Racquet Club.

– Don Wade

UTHSC Opens Pro Bono Pediatric Clinic

The new Rachel Kay Stevens Therapy Center, a pro bono pediatric clinic providing occupational therapy services to children and their families who are uninsured or underinsured, has opened its doors on the campus of the UT Health Science Center.

It’s named in honor of Stevens, who had just started occupational therapy school at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center when she died suddenly in January 2015 at age 21.

Stevens’ parents wanted to honor her memory, so they approached her instructors about starting a scholarship in their daughter’s name. Instead, the idea for a therapy center emerged.

It’s managed and staffed primarily by occupational therapy students as volunteers. Under the supervision of UTHSC faculty, the center will provide developmental screenings, evaluations and occupational therapy treatment for children, as well as parenting education classes, among other services.

– Andy Meek

St. Jude Sells Two Homes To United Housing

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has sold two adjacent single-family homes in the University of Memphis area.

Both properties were purchased by United Housing Inc., a nonprofit provider of affordable housing, according to separate Feb. 2 warranty deeds.

The health care giant sold the 864-square-foot home at 3271 Seminole Road for $34,300 and the 735-square-foot home at 3275 Seminole for $31,000. The homes each sit on 0.2 acres, and the sales price equals the most recent appraisal from the Shelby County Assessor.

St. Jude does not own any of the surrounding parcels. according to the most recent data from the Shelby County Register of Deeds.

– Madeline Faber

Wal-Mart Expanding Chef Jenn Food Offerings

Memphis resident Jennifer McCullough, aka Chef Jenn, is continuing to expand her branded gourmet food choices in Wal-Mart stores.

McCullough got her start developing dishes using family recipes and fresh ingredients in her home kitchen in Memphis, while catering dinners and events. Chef Jenn is now a certified women-owned company featuring products prepared and packaged in the United States; go to chefjenn.com to learn more about seafood sustainability.

The new frozen food Chef Jenn offerings at Wal-Mart include seafood mac & cheese and shrimp and grits, and they’ll be available in stores spanning 17 states.

“Having my dishes in Wal-Mart stores for households across America to enjoy is a dream come true,” McCullough said. “I was ecstatic to originally be selected as a part of Wal-Mart’s 2013 Open Call event for made-in-the-USA products.”

– Don Wade

Commission OKs Contract For Greenline Extension Design

Shelby County Commissioners approved a $163,400 contract Monday, Feb. 8, for the design of a part of the Shelby Farms Greenline extension.

The design work by Powers Hill Design will be on a two-mile section from the TVA substation on Lenow Road to the Cordova Train Station, which will be the eastern end of the greenline once the four-mile extension from Shelby Farms is complete.

Commissioners also approved six grants to local nonprofits totaling $99,000. The grants are from a fund of $1.3 million the commission set aside at the start of the current fiscal year, with each commissioner allotted $100,000.

Those grants have to be approved by the commission. Commissioners can and frequently do pool parts of their grant allocations for a single organization.

The nonprofits awarded grants Monday are Rise Foundation Inc., New Ballet Ensemble, Cooper-Young Business Association, Power Center Community Development Corp., Pinky Promise International and Raleigh Community Council.

Including the six grants approved Monday, the commission has given $810,000 to 37 organizations since creating the fund.

Commissioners also delayed until March 7 a vote on a state grant that would fund a hormonal therapy pilot program.

17-Hydroxyprogesterone, a synthetic hormone, is used to reduce the risk of delivering a baby too early in cases where a woman is pregnant with one baby and has had a preterm delivery of one baby in the past. The drug is used as part of newborn screenings to detect the deficiency that can lead to the preterm births.

The Shelby County Health Department would take part in a pilot program from July 1 of this year to June 30, 2016, with a $25,000 state grant.

Commissioners delayed the vote to get more information about the side effects and risks of the drug as well as how participants would be selected.

– Bill Dries