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National Brain Tumor Society Opens New Funding Call for its Oligodendroglioma Research Fund

Published on December 16, 2015 in Press Release

Request for Applications seeks proposals for research on clinically relevant biomarkers for oligodendroglioma tumors, closes January 15, 2016

National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS), the largest nonprofit dedicated to the brain tumor community in the United States, recently announced a new, open Request for Applications (RFA) to support and fund research that engages in the discovery, development, characterization, and/or validation of new – or refinement of existing – oligodendroglioma tumor biomarkers. Grant funding will come through the organization’s Oligodendroglioma Research Fund – which was the first research initiative launched out of its Community Research Fund program.

The RFA is open to domestic and international researchers until January 15, 2016.

All applications will be peer-reviewed by NBTS’s renowned Scientific Advisory Council. Final determination of awards will be based on scientific merit and the greatest potential for direct impact on the oligodendroglioma clinical development continuum.

A biomarker is a characteristic that is objectively measured and evaluated as an indicator of normal biologic processes, pathogenic processes, or pharmacologic responses to a therapeutic intervention.

Specifically, NBTS is seeking applications in areas of biomarker research that can advance the understanding of oligodendroglioma tumors as well as therapeutic development and patient care, including prognostic biomarkers that can predict patient survival; predictive biomarkers that can identify patients who are most likely to benefit from investigational therapies and guide drug development; and surrogate biomarkers to predict patient outcomes based on response to treatment.

“Previous funding through our Oligodendroglioma Research Fund has thankfully provided some much-needed knowledge about how these under-studied tumors develop and progress, as well as a number of potential treatment targets for precision therapeutics,” said Carrie Treadwell, chief research officer, National Brain Tumor Society. “Implementation of a clinically relevant biomarker development research program will now provide the foundation for realizing precision-based medicine by providing an important bridge between early research studies and later clinical evaluations. Advancing clinically testable targeted agents will depend on biomarkers.”

Continued study of the biological underpinnings of oligodendroglioma – including comprehensive descriptions of the genetic and epigenetic events that lead to tumor progression – are still needed, and will likely include further molecular characterization and sub-classification of tumors. However, outstanding of this disease has advanced to the point where some initial exploration of clinical targets and biomarkers is warranted. As such, multi-pronged and collaborative efforts within the research and clinical community will be critical for accelerating research towards the ultimate goal of developing more effective treatments for oligodendroglioma patients.

“At the National Brain Tumor Society, we’re driving systematic change in the brain tumor field, with the ultimate focus on developing more and better therapies for patients,” said David Arons, chief executive officer, National Brain Tumor Society. “By funding the development of biomarkers in oligodendroglioma we can advance research that will ultimately aid in the development of new treatments for patients as well as simultaneously improve our understanding of other brain tumor types that share the same genetic characteristics.”

Pure oligodendroglioma is a relatively rare brain tumor, representing approximately 6% of gliomas. In addition, there are patients with mixed oligoastrocytomas, accounting for another 2.3% of gliomas. Together, these oligodendroglia-based tumors account for 1,850 (or 2.7%) of new brain tumor diagnoses each year in the United States. Because of this rarity, both preclinical and clinical research efforts on this tumor type lag behind the more prevalent forms of brain tumors. Median age at diagnosis ranges from 42 for mixed oligoastrocytomas, to 43 for “pure” oligodendrogliomas, and 50 for anaplastic oligodendroglioma. Survival rates and treatments depend on location, extent of possible surgical resection, histopathology, and molecular aggressiveness. In general, oligodendroglia-based tumors are considered “low-grade gliomas” – categorized as WHO Grade II or III tumors – and progress more slowly than higher-grade brain tumors.

For more information, the full RFA, and to apply for the NBTS Community Research Fund’s Oligodendroglioma Clinically Relevant Biomarker grant, please visit here.

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