The inspiration for CABRI’s establishment came largely from one remarkable man, Andrei Makovik. Andrei moved from Minsk, Belarus to Ann Arbor with his family in 1994, and worked in the Information Technology department at Cayman.
In November 2004, Andrei was diagnosed with SNUC (sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma) after it was discovered that he had a large invasive tumor of the nasal sinuses eroding upward through the cribriform plate. After undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments, he was in remission until October 2005 when several foci of recurrent tumor were found on an MRI. Samples of the tumor were studied by University of Michigan Pathology Department, Cayman Biochemistry, and the National Cancer Institute.
Following his relapse, Andrei received intense radiation and chemotherapy until MRI scans showed continued slow expansion of the brain metastases, at which point treatment was discontinued. Andrei lost his battle in May 2006. He is survived by his wife, Marina, and their two children.
Throughout the length of Andrei’s illness, his colleagues at Cayman organized a research team to help find treatment for this cancer. Their extensive efforts continued after Andrei’s death, which built the framework for the rare cancer and disease research division of CABRI.
The establishment of CABRI was further inspired by Andy Martin. Andy was a medical student at Tulane University who spent the last year of his life trying to culture SNUC cells from his own tumor. Andy passed in November 2004, while his heroic effort was still a work in progress.
The funding we receive goes directly toward furthering the legacy started by Andrei and Andy. Thanks to our many generous donors, CABRI is able to continue researching rare illnesses such as SNUC with the purpose of developing effective treatment options.