Since its inception more than a decade ago, the Neuro-Oncology branch of the Center for Cancer Research at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has provided brain tumor patients and their families with excellent service and access to cutting edge clinical trials. Under the leadership of the founding branch chief, Dr. Howard Fine, it gave hope and critical information to thousands of patients, many of whom sought second and third opinions for their diagnosis and prognosis. Under Fine’s leadership, the Branch put brain cancer on the map at the NCI, and advanced brain tumor research in numerous ways. In particular, the Neuro-Oncology Branch’s work helped lead to The Cancer Genome Atlas that is unlocking mysteries in many arenas of research including deadly brain tumors such as glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). National Brain Tumor Society applauds the efforts of the National Cancer Institute, and the impact of the Neuro-Oncology Branch.
National Brain Tumor Society now urges the National Cancer Institute to build on a strong foundation. In a letter to Dr. Harold Varmus, Director, the Medical and Scientific Advisory Board members of the National Brain Tumor Society communicate specific ideas to NCI about the future of the Neuro-Oncology Branch.
At the forefront of their concerns, is a desire to make sure patients, families, and caregivers are educated on the available services from the Branch. As a taxpayer funded institution, all Americans, and those affected by brain tumors are entitled to know what the NCI’s Neuro-Oncology Branch can offer in terms of patient care, information, and clinical trial opportunities.
National Brain Tumor Society’s Advisors also recommends that the Branch:
- Act as a convener and collaborator in the brain tumor research community.
- Help lead efforts to improve coordination, between and among, federal agencies and offices, which impact brain tumor patients.
- Strengthen its role in drug development including the pursuit of compounds for use in clinical trials.
- Address key barriers to brain tumor research including tissue acquisition, and actively participate in broader patient issues such as cognitive functioning and quality of life.
View the full letter sent to Dr. Harold Varmus, Director, National Cancer Institute here.
UPDATE: In response to our letter, Robert H. Wiltrout, Ph.D. , Director of the Center for Cancer Research, and Lee J. Helman, M.D., Scientific Director for Clinical Research, respond with updates on the recent transition efforts at the Neuro-Oncology Branch, including the naming of an interim Director, Dr. Teri Kreisl, and an international recruiting effort to name a new Director. See the full response here.