NBTS Summit - Annual Meeting
The National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS) Annual Meeting was a celebration of the brain tumor community. It was a fitting start to the Summit as it touched on all the parts of the event – the NBTS vision for new research and the stories of the people who are making a difference. It also gave people a chance to new make connections with others members of the community.
Community Leadership Awards were presented to three people whose commitment to the cause is inspiring.
- Dellann Elliott of the Chris Elliott Fund was presented with the Community Leadership Award for a Colleague Organization. The award honors an organization for exceptional or innovative efforts toward our shared cause in serving the brain tumor community. Elliott received the award in recognition of her passion and commitment to ending brain cancer through education, awareness, advocacy, and research.
- The Community Leadership Award for Programs and Events was given to the Sullivan Family. The award honors people whose remarkable efforts to the brain tumor community has been demonstrated through their efforts in programs and events. The Sullivan family have raised vital funds and provided leadership to the brain tumor community through three key NBTS programs, the Delaware Brain Tumor Walk, the Tulips Against Tumors Tribute, and Justin’s Quest.
- The Community Leadership Award for Awareness was presented to Karen Armentani. This award honors an individual who has worked positively to raise public awareness about brain tumors. Karen Armentani has worked tirelessly as a patient advocate and brain tumor warrior. Notably, as a dedicated and vocal member of the Race for Hope – Philadelphia committee, Karen almost single-handedly increased the number of survivors who participate from a handful the first year to hundreds just five years later.
Brain tumor research was a focus of the evening with the announcement of the 2011 NBTS Research Grant recipients and Chairs of Research. Six researchers received grants from the largest research initiative NBTS has ever funded – the Mary Catherine Calisto Systems Biology Initiative:
- Markus Bredel, MD, PhD, of the University of Alabama, Birmingham (Billy Grey Chair in Systems Biology)
Project title: Integrated pharmacogenomics/pharmacokinomic approach to optimize GBM therapy
- James M. Gallo, PhD, of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine (Jacqueline Oswold Chair in Systems Biology)
Project title: Systems approach to overcome brain tumor resistance to molecularly targeted anticancer drug
- Santosh Kesari, MD, PhD, of the University of California, San Diego (James Ronan Family Chair in Systems Biology)
Project title: Develoment of an in silico systems biology approach to personalizing GBM therapy
- Anna M. Krichevsky, PhD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston (Hamill Family Chair in Systems Biology)
Project title: Systemic analysis of microRNA signaling pathways and survival of glioblastoma patients
- Ingo Mellinghoff, MD of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York; Edward Driggers, PhD of Agios Pharmaceuticals; Thomas Graeber, PhD, UCLA (Barry and Caren Glassman Chair in Systems Biology)
Project title: A systems approach to develop PET imaging radiotracers for IDH1 mutant glioma
- Brent A. Reynolds, PhD from the University of Florida (BethAnn Telford Chair in Systems Biology)
Project title: The edge of chaos: Application of complex adaptive system approach to managing tumor populations
In collaboration with the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada, NBTS is funding three Developmental Neurobiology Approaches to Pediatric Cancer Research. Recipients were:
- Robert Wechsler-Reya, PhD
Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, La Jolla, CA
Genetic Targeting of Cerebellar Stem Cells to Study Development and Tumorigenesis
- Alexandra Joyner, PhD
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY
Identification of genes and cell behaviors regulated by Shh/Gli2 signaling in the cell of origin of a major subtype of medulloblastoma using novel genetic tools in mouse
- Joseph Scafidi, DO
Children’s Research Institute, Washington, DC
The Effects of Molecularly Targeted on the Developing Neurogenic Niches
NBTS also awarded Advanced Grants to:
- David Largaespada, PhD from the University of Minnesota (Seth Harris Feldman Chair of Research)
Project title: The Neuro-Oncology Genomic Project
- James Wascheck, PhD, of the University of California, Los Angeles (Caroline Christine Peabody Chair of Research)
Project title: Critical role of STAT3 in medulloblastoma immune evasion in genetically engineered mice
Some of the most exciting research news came from the head of the new NBTS Strategic Advisory Committee, Dr. Alfred Yung, Chairman and Professor of Neurology and the Margaret & Ben Love Chair in Clinical Cancer in the Department of Neuro-Oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. Dr. Yung explained how NBTS is kicking its already aggressive pursuit of a cure into overdrive.
"We are embarking today on a serious multi-year engagement that will bring together the very best of academia, research, and industry with one and only one mission – to find a cure first for high-grade gliomas, then other brain cancers," said Dr. Yung. "We will need to break the current research funding paradigm. We will need to break the usual barriers between institutions and industries. It won’t be easy, but it is what must be done."
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