Exciting Highlights of our 2012 Summit
We recently held the National Brain Tumor Society 2012 Summit in historic Boston and are sharing key highlights around the ways we are making an impact.
This has been a transformational year as our integrated programs of research and public policy have pushed our initiatives forward and strengthened our ability to effect change. We are incredibly grateful for all of the support we have received, for the commitment of researchers and advocates, and for the community being a never-ending source of inspiration. We had the opportunity to say that in person as brain tumor patients, advocates, and family members joined leaders in academia, government, industry, and nonprofits at the NBTS Annual Meeting.
In conjunction with our Annual Meeting, we held the Mary Catherine Calisto Systems Biology Initiative Workshop, a Research Symposium, our first annual convening of state lead advocates, and the Boston Brain Tumor Walk.
Transforming Tomorrow, Today
National Brain Tumor Society Annual Meeting
Tim Cloughesy, MD, director of the Neuro-Oncology Program at UCLA, and vice chair of the NBTS medical advisory board, presented a keynote research address to the attendees of our annual meeting. Dr. Cloughesy discussed the state of affairs in clinical development of targeted therapies for GBM, and how we might be able to leverage research findings in other cancers.
In addition to honoring board member Mary Catherine Calisto for her leadership and continuous support, we presented awards to individuals who have truly made a difference in brain tumor and cancer research and the comunity. NBTS Founder Bonnie Feldman presented the Founder’s Award to Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), chief executive officer of the American Association for Cancer Research. NBTS Board Chairman Jeffrey Kolodin presented the Program & Events Award to the Greene and Neidorf families for their commitment and support of the oligodendroglioma research fund. Also presented was the Service Award to Howard Fine, MD, former head of neuro-oncology for the National Cancer Institute, and the Awareness Award to BethAnn Telford, a brain tumor survivor whose tireless education and advocacy efforts are inspiration to so many.
Read more about our annual meeting and these dynamic individuals who are making an impact in the brain tumor community.
Innovation in the Midst of Challenges:
New Paradigms in Cancer Research and Funding
National Brain Tumor Society Research Symposium
“We probably are at the most opportune time in the history of the world in terms of science.”
— Anna Barker, PhD, Professor and Director
Transformative Healthcare Networks, and Co-Director, Complex Adaptive Systems Initiative; Arizona State University
The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) project has provided us with a “parts list” in terms of gene and genomic data that researchers can now use to better understand the deadly brain tumor glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Involved in establishing TCGA at the National Institutes of Health when she was deputy director of the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Anna Barker was the opening speaker at our Research Symposium on October 12. Describing the current state of affairs in brain tumor research, Dr. Barker said, “Personally, my inclination is to believe that innovation is far from dead. And even in times of constrained resources, we will proceed and we will actually take on this disease, GBM, and brain tumors overall, and I’m very optimistic that we will see some huge changes in the next five to ten years.”
Other speakers at the Research Symposium included Giulio Draetta, MD, director of the Institute for Applied Cancer Science at MD Anderson Cancer Center; Dennis Berman, JD, director and executive vice president of Tocagen, Inc.; and Tyler Jacks, PhD, Director of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Read more about this Research Symposium.
Stepping Up to the Complexity Challenge: Systems Biology and Drug Development
The Mary Catherine Calisto Systems Biology Initiative Workshop
Systems biology has an important role in the effort to develop personalized therapy for GBM and brain tumors, and will significantly change the landscape going forward, according to W.K. Alfred Yung, MD, chair of the Department of Neuro-Oncology and co-director of the Brain Tumor Center at MD Anderson Cancer Center. He is also an NBTS strategic advisor. “The paradigm for treating GBM has not changed in 10 years, and we’re still losing 90% of our patients,” Dr. Yung said. However, systems biology will help us to understand the Right Target—the tumor is not one target but many targets—and to develop the Right Drug—mix drugs the right way so the combination hits the right target—for the Right Patient.
Other speakers at this workshop included Ernest Fraenkel, PhD, and Robert Langer, ScD, both of MIT; Giulio Draetta, MD, PhD, of MD Anderson Cancer Center; and Louis Beardell, Jr., JD, of the law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius.
In the afternoon, recipients of the first six grants awarded by the Mary Catherine Calisto Systems Biology Initiative presented preliminary findings from their original research.
Read more about this workshop.