From: Bob Davis (earthjuice_at_prodigy.net)
Date: 2005-08-10 06:13:15

  • Next message: Jon Freer: "[acid-jazz] Reviews inc Soulsearching comp"

    Micheal Brecker and Randy Brecker are two of my favorite jazz/funk artists from the 1970's.
    Please pass this along if you can....

    Contact for Michael Brecker: Dan Klores Communications
    Bruce Bobbins


    August 9, 2005, Cleveland, OH – Heads Up International recording artist
    Michael Brecker is an 11-time Grammy Award winner—the most of any
    saxophonist, ever. As a result of his harmonic and stylistic innovations,
    the renowned tenor saxophonist and composer, who is 56, is also the most
    studied contemporary instrumentalist in music schools throughout the world
    today. Prior to and during the pursuit of his acclaimed solo career,
    Brecker has delighted millions through recordings or performances with a
    virtual “Who’s Who” of jazz and pop giants including Herbie Hancock, Paul
    Simon, Quincy Jones, Joni Mitchell, Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis,
    Aretha Franklin, Parliament Funkadelic, James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen,
    Eric Clapton, Pat Metheny, Aerosmith, George Benson, Frank Sinatra, David
    Sanborn, Chris Botti, Rick James, Frank Zappa, Harry Connick, James Brown,
    Dave Grusin, Ringo Starr, Steely Dan, Dave Brubeck, John Lennon, Lou Reed,
    Michael Bolton, Carly Simon, Chick Corea, McCoy Tyner, Billy Joel and Elton

    Brecker’s blazing signature saxophone sound, however, has been temporarily
    quieted. He is a patient at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in
    New York, afflicted with MDS, myelodysplastic syndrome, a bone marrow
    disorder. There is no known single cause of MDS and currently the only
    curative therapy is a blood stem cell (bone marrow) transplant.

    In preparation for his transplant, Brecker is completing his first course
    of chemotherapy, but as of yet there is no suitable donor. The urgent donor
    search—which has included Brecker’s siblings and children—has not resulted
    in a match. Each year, approximately 9,000 people die in the U.S. while
    waiting for a bone marrow donor.

    Brecker is anxious to rejoin his family and begin to work again. He hopes
    for more people to enter the National Marrow Donor Program Registry
    [www.marrow.org or 800-MARROW-2] and towards this end, a massive donor
    drive is currently being organized. As tissue types are inherited, Michael
    will need a donor of European Jewish extraction.

    “So many diseases can be treated and cured by a bone marrow/stem cell
    transplant, including MDS, which I had never heard of until I was diagnosed
    with it,” explains Brecker. “By speaking out, I hope to encourage as many
    people as possible to get tested not only to assist me, but to help
    thousands of others who are either facing or who will be facing the same
    challenge with which I’m currently confronted.”

    Brecker’s first album for Heads Up has been postponed. “This isn’t about
    selling records, it’s about trying to help save a man’s life” says Dave
    Love, President of Heads Up International. “We need to get together and
    find a donor for Michael as quickly as possible.”

                                       # # #


    Susan Brecker’s heartfelt plea elicited an outpouring of support for
    Michael—and an outpouring of questions. As there is outdated and
    conflicting information on the web concerning the stem cell transplant
    process that can assist Michael and so many others, we assembled a list of
    frequently asked questions—a hybrid of material found throughout the web in
    addition to new information. Before contacting Michael’s management office
    with your questions, please review the following. Thank you for your

    Q01: What is a bone marrow or blood stem cell transplant?

    A: It’s a potentially life-saving treatment for patients with MDS,
    leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood diseases. The transplanted healthy stem
    cells from a donor replace a patient's unhealthy blood cells that have been
    destroyed by chemotherapy.

    Q02: Are these the same stem cells about which there exists so much

    A: No. Those are embryonic stem cells---which are completely
    undifferentiated. Donors would be providing blood stem cells where the
    extent of differentiation is only the specific type of blood cell that will

    Q03: Does my blood type matter?

    A: Not at all. The testing is for genotype (tissue type) and not blood

    Q04: Who can be tested?

    A: Donors must be between the ages of 18 and 60, in good general health
    and be free of chronic diseases. For example, volunteers with serious
    asthma, Hepatitis B or C or most forms of cancer (regardless of whether in
    remission) cannot be accepted.

    Q05: What is the procedure?

    A: Testing only takes a couple of minutes and, at worse, is as painless as
    giving blood. Blood is drawn for testing and a consent form is filled out.
    In some instances, a buccal swab (a sterile Q-tip which is rubbed along the
    wall of your inner cheek to collect cells) is used.

    Q06: Does a person's race or ethnicity affect matching?

    A: Because tissue type is inherited, patients are most likely to match
    someone of their same race and ethnicity. There is a special need to
    recruit more donors who are, for example, African Americans, Native
    Americans, European Jews, Armenians, Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, Asians,
    Hispanics and Latinos. The reason why there are greater number or donors
    needed for these groups is as a result of either purges of the population
    (genocide, etc.) and/or relatively few people in the group in the
    international registry. A match for Michael would be most likely come from
    those of Eastern European Jewish descent.

    Q07: Where do I go to get tested?

    A: Contact the NY Blood Bank [212-570-3441 / 310 East 67th Street] and
    make an appointment for HLA typing. If you’re not in NY, go to
    www.marrow.org or call 1-800-MARROW-2 to find the donor center nearest you.
    Marrow.org will assist donors who wish to join the national registry. We
    hope that you will join the national registry, however, if you do not wish
    to join the registry [see Q13] or it’s difficult to make it to a blood
    center, private kits are available from Tepnel Life Codes [800-915-3695].
    Order the “HLA [A][B][DR]” kit for $140. You will need to have a small vial
    of blood drawn. Indicate to Tepnel that your test is for “Michael Brecker”
    and they will know to whom to forward your results.

    Q08: How much is the testing and who pays for it?

    A: The test generally cost $40 to $95 depending on the donor center and
    the laboratory that completes the test. Testing at the New York Blood
    Center is just $40. However, if you’re African American, Hispanic, Native
    American or Asian testing is free at any donor center that’s part of the
    National Marrow Donor Program network [800-MARROW-2]. More than 100 centers
    throughout the country—including the New York Blood Center are part of the
    network. Following the initial testing, all medical expenses are paid for
    by the patient or the patient’s insurance.

    Q09: What is the test for?

    A: The test is to determine whether a tissue-type match exists between the
    donor and the patient. More specifically, potential donors [and the
    patient] are given an HLA or Human Leukocyte Antigen test. Antigens are
    found on the surface of infection-fighting white blood cells (leukocytes).
    A match between specific donor and recipient antigens is critical to having
    a successful transplant (i.e., where the two immune systems will not go to
    war with one another). Should you see your HLA results, the numbers
    indicated are the identifying gene-pair markers (alleles) that are
    responsible for your “A” antigen, for example, to be different than someone
    else’s “A” antigen. In the fortuitous event you’re deemed a good match
    after three specific antigens are compared, you will be asked for a second
    blood test.

    Q10: What are the chances of my being selected?

    A: As you might imagine, given the number of genes that need to match, the
    overall chances are quite low...but the more people tested, the more likely
    there will be a perfect match awaiting everyone.

    Q11: Has Michael’s family been tested?

    A: Yes, both his siblings and children---none match. There is also a rumor
    afloat [04AUG] that a match has been found for Michael....regrettably, this
    is inaccurate.

    Q12: How are patients actually matched with donors?

    A: The results of blood samples from donors or umbilical cord blood units
    [see Q17] are added to different registries. The registries are then
    searched for a donor whose tissue type matches that of their patient.

    Q13: Can I be tested to be a donor only for Michael?

    A: Yes, but on behalf of Michael, we hope that you would not embrace this
    alternative. Explains Michael, “I hope to encourage as many people as
    possible to get tested not just to assist me, but to help thousands of
    others who are either facing or who will be facing the same challenge with
    which I’m now confronted.” Should you nonetheless wish to make a donation
    only for Michael, private kits are available from Tepnel Life Codes [see

    Q14: Is there a difference between a bone marrow transplant and blood stem
    cell transplant?

    A: Yes…and no. As a result of new technologies, the term “bone marrow
    transplant” is in part a misnomer. In earlier years marrow had be extracted
    from a donor’s marrow. Today at leading cancer centers like Memorial Sloan
    Kettering, the collecting process rarely occurs this way. A donor is simply
    connected to a machine through an IV that separates and harvests the blood
    stem cells from the donor’s blood before the blood returns to the donor
    through a second IV. Instead of being tethered to a machine for a few
    hours, some folks still prefer direct marrow collection---where medical
    technology has also improved. Following anesthesia, marrow—-which
    continually replenishes every 4-6 weeks---is withdrawn using fine hollow
    needles in the hip. A sore bottom may result for a few days. In short,
    whatever the brief discomfort of whichever method that’s used—it’s nothing
    compared to the virtue and humanity of potentially saving a life.

    Q15: Can I take my name off the donor registry at any time?

    A: Yes, being on the registry just means that you may be asked to be a
    donor. It is strongly preferred, however, that you remove your name from
    the registry if you feel you may be disinclined to be a donor. Nothing may
    be as heartbreaking as someone having to learn that there exists a perfect
    match to save the life of a loved one…and the donor changed their mind
    about being a donor. Being a donor is not deleterious to your health. While
    we hope that you become a donor, please do not add your name to any donor
    registry if you’re not prepared to step-up when the opportunity presents

    Q16: If I am a match, who pays for the necessary procedures?

    A: If you are a match, the patient's insurance pays for the entire
    procedure---there is no cost to you. This includes the cost of the physical
    you will receive to ensure that you’re in good health.

    Q17: I’ve heard about “cord donations” and stem cells from umbilical
    cords—what’s that?

    If you or anyone you know is having a child, inform the obstetrician that
    you would like the umbilical cord to be delivered to a cord blood bank
    where it is tested and where the blood stem cells are frozen for future use
    in the event of a match. The collection does not pose any health risk to
    the mother or baby and does not affect the birth process in any way. The
    cord would otherwise simply be disposed of.

    For further information on donating umbilical cord donations:

    For ordering a private HLA kit:

    For further information on whether you qualify as a donor:

    For learning where to get tested at a National Marrow Donor Program blood

    Bob Davis
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