WATERTOWN, Mass. -- National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS) believes that the brain tumor research community needs to shift from a traditional research approach to a systems biology approach. The research community appears to be in agreement as NBTS received 50 applications from researchers around the world in response to a Request for Applications (RFA) for the $5 million Mary Catherine Calisto Systems Biology Initiative.
In the past, scientists have tried to understand brain tumors by studying one or two parts of the tumor that had gone awry. While this research has greatly expanded our knowledge of brain tumors, it has had limited success in helping to bring new therapies to patients.
NBTS launched the Mary Catherine Calisto Systems Biology Initiative in 2010 to lead the brain tumor research world in this new direction with the belief that systems biology hold promise to usher in a new era in which effective treatments for brain tumors are developed as quickly as possible. NBTS issued a RFA that mandated that grantees form a team of scientists that included experts outside of their own specialties.
The application deadline was on Feb. 18, and the 50 applications included ones from every major U.S. institution as well as applications from Canada, Australia, Mexico, United Kingdom, Israel, and Malaysia.
“We believe that systems biology is the way of the future for brain tumor research,” says NBTS Executive Director N. Paul TonThat. “We excited to be able to lead the brain tumor research community toward this approach.”
The 50 applications will be reviewed by the NBTS Scientific Advisory Council, made up of top experts in brain tumor research, and three systems biology experts. The reviewers will score the application based on their scientific merit and then present their finding to the NBTS Board of Directors.
As many as ten grants of up to $100,000 will be given for the first stage of planning, which is focused on developing a feasibility or planning study in the first year. The deliverable is a top-quality collaborative plan and timeline.
Upon review of the phase one results, three grantees will move on to phase two. Each will receive $1.5 million over three years ($500,000 per year) to execute the research plan, leading to a clinical trial.
For more information on systems biology and the Mary Catherine Calisto Systems Biology Initiative, please go to www.braintumor.org/systemsbiology.