Key Highlights from the 2013 National Brain Tumor Society Summit
We are excited to report that this year’s National Brain Tumor Society Summit was again an incredible event, bringing the community together over three days to learn about inspiring progress, build connections, and take action. Hosted in Cambridge, MA, the Summit involved our Annual Meeting, State of Pediatric Research Breakfast, and working meetings with advisors and volunteers. Leaders from medical academia, the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, and nonprofit organizations, along with patients, survivors, and families joined together to learn about research and public policy progress, discuss leading edge National Brain Tumor Society initiatives, honor and celebrate leaders from the brain tumor community, and walk united to fight brain tumors.
As the brain tumor field for both the adult and pediatric communities enters a new era of scientific discovery, this year’s Summit highlighted how this progress, along with collaboration and new funding models, is accelerating the discovery of new and better therapies.
“This year’s National Brain Tumor Society Summit, in many ways, was a testament to the momentum created over the past few years by the many dedicated individuals working to find better treatments and a cure for brain tumors,” said National Brain Tumor Society CEO, N. Paul TonThat. “Last year, the key theme was collaboration, and how the field was embracing more scientific communication and teamwork. In the 12 short months since, we’ve seen that by bringing the various stakeholders together and working in synergy we can create some truly exciting projects that are now beginning to change the landscape of this disease.”
National Brain Tumor Society Annual Meeting
Each year the Annual Meeting serves as an opportunity for patients, caregivers, and families, along with leaders in research, industry, government, and the medical community to come together for an intimate and engaging evening celebrating progress. Here are highlights from this year’s event:
Keynote – Dr. Webster Cavenee
Dr. Webster Cavenee, a world reknowned researcher and long standing, trusted advisor, from Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and the University of California San Diego, began the evening with a keynote presentation describing our most innovative strategic research initiative to date, our Defeat GBM Research Collaborative, and the potential for a future global model of integrated brain cancer research. By connecting leading brain tumor researchers from top cancer institutions across the globe to create a highy-focused, outcomes-driven effort, Defeat GBM aims to double the five-year survival rate of GBM patients in just five years. Dr. Cavenee recognized this effort as a “historic inflexion point” for the field. Learn more about this groundbreaking initiative.
National Brain Tumor Society Today
Michael Nathanson, Chairman of the Board of Directors, followed Dr. Cavenee with a state of the organization address. Mr. Nathanson’s address showcased pivotal work being done by the National Brain Tumor Society, including:
- Our Clinical Trial Endpoints Initiative – a program with the support of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) aimed at increasing the volume and speed of approvals for new treatment;
- Advancing Research to Therapies (ART) for Brain Tumors – a new program aiming to translate laboratory science into commercialized treatments by bringing together researchers, biotech and pharma executives, investors, and patients;
- Advocating for Oral Chemotherapy Parity legislation protecting patients from paying out-of-pocket for life-saving treatments just because they are prescribed in pill form; and much more.
Community Leadership Awards
Our Community Leadership Award recipients were honored for their passion and commitment to the brain tumor community. The following individuals and families were recognized:
For Programs & Events
Lionel and Sandy Chaiken were recognized for their tireless dedication to the Race for Hope-DC and the entire brain tumor community. Lionel and Sandy together co-founded the Race for Hope in Washington, DC in 1997 with Nike Beddow and her sister Dana. Their tenacious commitment for the past 16 years, fundraising as Team Pamela Sue, named in honor of their daughter, has made them one of our top fundraising teams nationally. This incredible event has also grown to be the largest brain tumor event in the country, from it's first year at 600 people to over 11,000 today.
Liz Salmi was recognized for her tireless efforts to promote awareness, create spaces to share information through social media, advocate for the brain tumor community, and inspire people of all ages. Liz is the volunteer state lead advocate for California. She participates in our Head to Hill advocacy day in DC, has a dedicated team at the Bay Area Brain Tumor Walk, serves as a member of our medical advisory board, and leads the followers of the Liz Army blog in the fight against this disease.
Feldman Founder’s Award
Dr. David Louis, Pathologist-in-Chief at Massachusetts General Hospital and Benjamin Castleman Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School, received the Feldman Founder’s Award for his outstanding contributions and invaluable impact on the field of brain tumor research. The work of Dr. Louis and his lab in the molecular genetic basis of gliomas has been fundamental in the advancement of brain tumor research and has resulted in worldwide adoption of molecular testing for brain tumor patient management.
The National Brain Tumor Society Feldman Founder’s Award recognizes an individual or group for a transcendent scientific discovery, an exceptional body of work, or leadership that has had a significant and sustained impact on the brain tumor community. Read more about the Feldman Founder’s Award, our iniatives, and funded researchers in the 2013 Summit Program book.
State of Research Breakfast
The State of Research Breakfast was an opportunity for experts in the field and National Brain Tumor Society leadership to address the audience on the current state of pediatric brain tumor research and the future of our work.
Dr. Michael Prados, University of California at San Francisco, and Dr. Josef Scafidi, Children’s National Medical Center, joined our Board Chairman, Michael Nathanson, and our Senior Director of Research, Carrie Treadwell, in discussing how advances in molecular profiling of pediatric brain tumors are leading to the development of new targeted therapies that can be safe and effective for the developing brains of children. Ms. Treadwell also emphasized our ongoing commitment to pediatric programs, as well as the desire to foster more collaborations and shared communication within the field to see faster results.
Boston Brain Tumor Walk
The 2013 Summit concluded on Sunday, October 6 with the inspirational 4th annual Boston Brain Tumor Walk at Carson Beach in Boston. Rainy weather did not dampen the enthusiasm and commitment of the teams dedicated to this cause, bringing out 3,000 participants and raising nearly $600,000. It was an incredible day and we are grateful for the support of everyone involved, as together we helped inspire hope, and unite to fight brain tumors.
Thank you to our sponsor: