Neurosurgeon Dr. Robert Masson Serves as the Principle Investigator Focused on Reinventing a 20-Year-Old Procedure
January 24 2019
This weekend, Dr. Robert Masson, 55, will join his son Kyle Masson and two other racers as part of the Performance Tech Motorsports team competing in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Fueled by a personal connection to blood stem cell donation and a professional career in neurosurgery, including innovation in spine surgery and associated medical devices, Masson will use his racing platform to share his most recent work to reimagine traditional blood stem cell donation and highlight how everyone can play a role in Be The Match’s mission to save lives.
For the past 20 years, the process to collect blood stem cells from the pelvic bone has remained largely unchanged. The procedure often elicits fear from the general public because of how it’s portrayed through media, which discourages many from joining the Be The Match Registry® and potentially saving a life. When developing its new five-year strategic plan, Be The Match recognized an opportunity to innovate the process and make donation more attractive to people interested in becoming a life-saving donor.
Be The Match, a trusted leader in the field of cell and gene therapy and charged with finding a perfectly matched blood stem cell donor for patients with blood cancers and other blood disorders, selected Masson as its principle investigator.
“Working in the field of minimally invasive neurosurgery gives Dr. Masson the tools to view blood stem cell collection in a completely new way—to consider how to work around the neural pathways of pain and focus on faster recovery with minimal side effects,” said C. Randal Mills, Ph.D., chief executive officer at Be The Match. “His professional expertise paired with his personal connection to and passion for supporting cancer patients makes him an ideal partner in this work.”
Masson’s younger sister, Calley, is a 20-year cancer survivor. Her journey as a cancer patient inspired Masson’s personal support of cancer patients and organizations, including climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with LIVESTRONG to raise awareness for cancer survival and recovery. Masson himself is a spinal reconstruction patient, a life experience that drove a desire and professional career focused on teaching people how to navigate their own health care experiences, achieve and celebrate extreme recovery, and survive in the face of adversity.
“My family and friends who know me understand my participation in racing gives me structure and clarity around the importance of safe, simple, incremental, perpetual improvements in performance,” Masson said. “The opportunity to reimagine blood stem cell collection brings my professional commitment to improving neurosurgery, my passion for extreme recovery and survival, and my experience with my sister’s cancer journey to a crossroads. I am so proud to support Be The Match in its work to improve access to and the negative perceptions surrounding blood stem cell transplant.”
Through a partnership with Performance Tech Motorsports, Masson’s #38 Le Mans Prototype will include the Be The Match logo at Daytona International Speedway this weekend, and Be The Match will be featured in all team activities. The twice-around-the-clock race will air on NBCSN, NBC Sports and IMSA.tv beginning Saturday, January 26 and go through Sunday, January 27. Check local listings for a detailed broadcast schedule.
About Be The Match®
For people with life-threatening blood cancers—like leukemia andlymphoma—or other diseases, a cure exists. Be The Match connects patients withtheir donor match for a life-saving marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant.People can contribute to the cure as a member of the Be The Match Registry®,financial contributor or volunteer. Be The Match provides patients and theirfamilies one-on-one support, education, and guidance before, during andafter transplant.
Be The Match is operated by the National Marrow Donor Program®(NMDP), a nonprofit organization that matches patients with donors, educateshealth care professionals and conducts research through its research program,CIBMTR® (Center for International Blood and Marrow TransplantResearch®), so more lives can be saved. To learn more about thecure, visit BeTheMatch.org or call 1 (800) MARROW-2.