Thursday, January 20, 2011

Around Town: We need a cure for cancer, now!

I met Hunter Shelden in the early 1980s. I was defending a criminal case. The case had causation issues and Dr. Shelden, a world-known neurosurgeon, agreed to review the case as an expert.

I knew that Dr. Shelden began his career as a Navy doctor. During World War II, he chaired the neurosurgical service at the United States Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. At Bethesda, he began a lifelong collaboration with Dr. Robert Pudenz.

Eventually, Drs. Shelden and Pudenz both left the Navy and moved their families to Pasadena. They each enjoyed their private neurosurgical practices. Dr. Shelden served as head of the Neurosurgical Service at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena.

They found clinical work fulfilling, but both doctors wanted more. They began to do research in their spare time. They dragged wrecked cars into a back lot and became pioneers in auto safety. They invented the hydrocephalus shunt. Their mission was "to make the medicine of tomorrow better than the best we have today."

Their laboratories eventually evolved into Pasadena's Huntington Medical Research Institutes (HMRI).

When I met Dr. Shelden, he was in his mid-80s. He gave me a tour of some of his projects at HMRI. It was impressive.

When our son was diagnosed with cancer, I went back to HMRI. One of the researchers, Faye Eggerding, M.D., Ph.D, met with Andrew and took an interest in him and in his case.

Dr. Eggerding is a medical geneticist. She is board-certified in molecular genetics and cytogenetics. Her career has focused on molecular diagnostics, molecular biology and pathology. Dr. Eggerding has had faculty positions at universities and also did research at Perkin-Elmer Applied Biosystems, where she developed techniques for mutation screening in inherited disorders and acquired cancers. And now Dr. Eggerding has an interesting new RNA research project.

Last week, the organizing committee for the sixth 2nd LT. Andrew Torres Memorial Golf Tournament held a kick-off meeting to prepare for the May 16 tournament at the La Cañada Flintridge Country Club.

This year, the Torres tournament will fund Dr. Eggerding's new project.

We imagine a world without cancer, a world where people like Andrew, Flintridge Prep Coach Tom Fry and countless others run, laugh, play and live. What we have today is not good enough. We need cures.

Dr. Eggerding shares this dream.

ANITA SUSAN BRENNER is a longtime La Cañada Flintridge resident and an attorney with Law Offices of Torres and Brenner in Pasadena. E-mail her at For more information on the Torres Memorial Golf Tournament, call (626) 792 3175 or see
Valley SunTrib

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