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AACR-National Brain Tumor Society 2013 Grant Announced

Published on November 21, 2013 in Press Release

Dr. Markus D. Siegelin, M.D. named the 2013 recipient of the AACR-National Brain Tumor Society Career Development Award for Translational Brain Tumor Research

Earlier this week at the American Association for Cancer Research’s (AACR) Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. (April 6-10, 2013) Dr. Markus D. Siegelin, M.D. was named the 2013 recipient of the AACR-National Brain Tumor Society Career Development Award for Translational Brain Tumor Research.

Dr. Siegelin, Assistant Professor of Pathology & Cell Biology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, will receive a $150,000 grant from the two organizations ($75,000/year for two years) to investigate new, powerful anti-tumor treatments for glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) patients.

Dr. Siegelin’s overall strategy is to establish a drug that can cause cell-death in tumor cells, while not harming healthy brain cells. To do so, Dr. Siegelin and his team will leverage a novel drug candidate that was recently developed by researchers at the University of California, Davis that has shown promise for effectively treating GBM in animal models called CP-d/n-ATF5. Dr. Siegelin will further study the mechanisms that have allowed the drug to successfully kill tumor cells in animal models to help better identify and understand: 1.) What potential side-effects for humans there could be, 2.) What potential ways cancer cells might try to resist the drug, 3.) What biomarkers might exist that could potentially predict individual patient response, and 4.) What other drugs might work in combination with this treatment to produce better outcomes for patients.

A second phase of this research, will specifically test if CP-d/n-AFT5 can work successfully in combination with another drug called TRAIL, which has also shown progress as a potential promoter of cell death in tumors. While TRAIL has shown success in fighting a number of different cancer types, tumor cells often are able to develop a resistance to it. Therefore, a combination treatment of CP-d/n-ATF5 and TRAIL could be highly valuable to overcoming the resistance techniques of GBM cells.

If all is successful, Dr. Siegelin’s work could be the basis for creating a treatment that has the opportunity to advance toward clinical trial.

Dr. Siegelin’s work, while separate from National Brain Tumor Society’s recently announced Defeat GBM Research Collaborative, highlights our commitment to fight GBM – the most common and deadliest form of brain cancer – from multiple angles.

Additionally, another session during AACR’s Annual Meeting named members to the first class of Fellows of the AACR Academy. Dr. Webster Cavenee, who serves on the Defeat GBM Strategic Scientific Advisory Council, was one of the Fellows named to this first class. The AACR Academy was created to, “recognize and honor distinguished scientists whose major scientific contributions have propelled significant innovation and progress against cancer.” Fellows were selected, “through a rigorous peer review process that evaluates individuals on the basis of their stellar scientific achievements in cancer research.”

About Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM)

GBM is one of the most devastating forms of all cancer, with a dismal life expectancy after diagnosis of less than 15 months[1]. GBM is also extremely complex, with some four known subtypes and multiple mutations per tumor. After initial resection and chemo/radiation treatment, it almost universally comes back, and when it does, it virtually always resists the original and standard of care treatment. Despite breakthroughs in understanding the tumor, no recent therapy has proven effective beyond just a couple of months. Thus, there is still more to learn about how the disease escapes anti-cancer drugs that often work even in other cancers with similar genomes, which is one of the main project focuses of Defeat GBM.

[1] National Cancer Institute (NCI)

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