New grant boosts brain tumor funding
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (ALSAC)
Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (ABC2) and the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation (PBTF) have jointly awarded a research grant to Tom Curran, Ph.D., co-leader of the Neurobiology & Brain Tumor Program at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital to support his work on the development of a treatment for medulloblastoma. Curran, who is also chair of St. Jude's Department of Developmental Neurobiology, is the recipient of the first grant awarded jointly by these two non-profit foundations. ABC2 is dedicated to accelerating therapies leading to a cure for brain cancer, and PBTF is dedicated to supporting the search for the cause and cure of childhood brain tumors.
Curran has pioneered preclinical studies of the role of the sonic hedgehog (SHH) signaling pathway in the development of medulloblastoma. His preliminary studies using a model system demonstrated that a highly specific, non-toxic compound that inhibits tumor cell proliferation and eliminates tumor volume. This finding suggests that SHH pathway inhibitors might provide a novel and effective treatment for medulloblastoma, which makes up about 20% of all childhood brain cancers, according to Curran.
"The joint award from these two foundations will help my laboratory extend our translational research studies from models to human medulloblastoma," Curran said. "Those results will provide some of the preclinical data we need to bring this new approach to treating medulloblastoma into clinical trials."
The work that will be supported at St. Jude by ABC2 and PBTF is also important because research to identify specific molecular targets for therapeutic intervention in pediatric brain tumors has lagged behind similar efforts for adult cancers, Curran said.
"We are so pleased to be collaborating with PBTF to support the work being done by Dr. Curran on behalf of pediatric brain tumor patients," stated John Reher, ABC2 Executive Director. "By joining forces with PBTF, we are able to leverage our resources and accelerate the progress in our quest for new treatments for brain cancer."
"Brain tumors are the most deadly of all the childhood cancers," explained Mike Traynor, PBTF President. "Dr. Curran's research offers the promise of a new, effective treatment for medulloblastoma, the most common of all the childhood brain tumors. We are pleased to join with ABC2 in this collaborative research effort which will take us one step closer to finding the cause and cure of childhood brain tumors."
Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (ABC2) was founded in May 2001 by Dan and Steve Case and their families, along with leading scientists and entrepreneurs. ABC2 aims to raise awareness about brain cancer and help mobilize critical scientific research through research grants and partnerships. ABC2 funds outstanding and novel translational science that is aimed at the discovery of a cure for brain cancer.
Each year more than 17,000 people in the United States find out that they have a primary brain tumor. An additional 100,000 patients are diagnosed with a brain tumor that has metastasized from another part of the body. The mission of ABC2 is to accelerate a cure for brain cancer by increasing the number of potential therapies discovered and then rapidly moving them into the clinic to help patients. In order to accelerate progress in what has been an under-served field of research, ABC2 provides researchers from all backgrounds with the support they need to make critical breakthroughs in brain cancer research. Further information can be found at www.abc2.org.
The Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation (PBTF) seeks to find the cause and cure of brain tumors in children by supporting medical research, increasing public awareness of the disease and aiding in early detection and treatment of childhood brain tumors. The efforts of PBTF are focused on pediatrics, but the research funded supports brain tumors in both children and adults. This mission grew from the desire of the co-founders, Mike and Dianne Traynor, to bring an end to the untimely death of children from this disease. The Traynors were introduced to this devastating disease through the struggle and pain of a colleague whose child was stricken with a brain tumor.
The Foundation supports an international grant program funding basic, translational, and clinical scientific research grants to bring about new and improved therapies for children with brain tumors. Educational grants are also made to national and international brain tumor research symposia. The Foundation has provided the grant funding for the operation and administration of the Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States, the nation's database for adult and pediatric brain tumor information. For more information, please call 1-800-253-6530 or visit the Foundation's website at www.pbtfus.org.
About St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. Founded by late entertainer Danny Thomas and based in Memphis, Tennessee, St. Jude freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities around the world. No family ever pays for treatments not covered by insurance, and families without insurance are never asked to pay. St. Jude is financially supported by ALSAC, its fundraising organization.
For more information, or to contact St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (ALSAC), see their website at: www.stjude.org
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