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Defeat GBM Research Collaborative: Progress Report (2018-2019)

Published on February 10, 2020 in Research, Our Impact

Over the past five years, the Defeat GBM Research Collaborative has stood as a testament to the power of ideas, collaboration, and the philanthropic partnership between patient advocacy nonprofits like NBTS and a dedicated community of supporters. 

Defeat GBM researchers at the 2016 NBTS Scientific Summit

When we launched Defeat GBM as our flagship research initiative in 2014, we sought to do something different. Decades of grant-making in the traditional form of funding separate, individual research projects (one- to two-year grants to a single Principle Investigator) had produced extraordinary knowledge of the biology of glioblastoma cells, but not nearly enough of this work was primed to move out of research laboratories and into clinical trials for patients. NBTS wanted to see what could be accomplished if, instead of continuing this traditional model of research funding, we deep-funded a team of expert researchers, over a five-year period, to work collaboratively. This team would be charged with working across the continuum of research to translate a scientific discovery into an actionable treatment strategy and/or medical product that could be tested in clinical trials, and hopefully become an approved new therapeutic option for patients. In short, we wanted to change the way glioblastoma research was funded and conducted. It was a big bet, but we believed it would be critical to accelerating the pace at which we discover, develop, and evaluate new therapies for patients.

We made a $10 million commitment to our team of world-class Defeat GBM researchers, hopeful that our community would share our vision and enthusiasm for an innovative, unconventional initiative aimed at speeding progress against glioblastoma. We are humbled and profoundly grateful that you did. Thanks to your generous support, Defeat GBM’s scientific endeavors have led to new discoveries about how glioblastoma tumors function and evolve, and how they evade current treatments — as well as potential new strategies, methods, and drugs to prevent these tumors from continuing to grow. The Defeat GBM team has tested thousands of drugs preclinically, and identified a number of useful “biomarkers” to predict which drugs – or types of drugs – are most likely to benefit subgroups of GBM patients. 

Together, we’ve demonstrated what fresh thinking, a shared vision, and novel, responsive philanthropy can accomplish. We are proud to share these accomplishments with you in the following report. 
> Download the report (PDF)

The pioneering research described in the report has created a foundation that will soon serve as the next generation of treatment development initiatives within NBTS’s Defeat Brain Tumors Program. While the current projects within Defeat GBM will wrap-up in their current iterations over the course of the next 12 months, much of the work will continue to advance and/or inform even more focused efforts to facilitate clinical trials to evaluate new therapies for patients. Specifically, the advances in attacking metabolic co-dependencies, improving the effects of radiation (and other DNA-damaging agents), and using the neoadjuvant setting as a platform to develop more effective immunotherapies, will all likely continue to progress toward new treatment strategies primed for clinical evaluation.

Again, we thank you for sharing our vision for change, and for trusting NBTS to put your generosity to the best use in the fight against glioblastoma. Together, we made a big bet and it has paid off. By investing in Defeat GBM’s unique concept, structure, and scientific plan, we’ve fueled remarkable discoveries, seeded new, promising treatment strategies, and proved the value of a collaborative research model. National Brain Tumor Society looks forward to continuing to advance these discoveries and sharing the results with our dedicated supporters.

With sincere gratitude,

David F. Arons, JD

Chief Executive Officer

National Brain Tumor Society

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