Our Impact: Progress Points

Our Impact: Investing Your Dollars to Make a Difference for Brain Tumor Patients & Progress Toward a Cure

Progress ReportOver the last 25 years, the National Brain Tumor Society (and its two legacy organizations) have funded more than $35 million in brain tumor research grants and awards to hundreds of researchers at various leading institutes in the U.S. and globally in order to find better treatments, and ultimately a cure. Your support has also enabled nonpartisan advocacy efforts which improved public policies that benefit brain tumor patients and research.

The highlights below reflect the important progress achieved over our history thanks to the support NBTS has received from generous and dedicated donors, volunteers, advocates, grantees, and supporters. These specific results have – and will continue to have – tangible impact on the research needed to improve treatments for brain tumors, as well as showcases our work in influencing and driving public policy that gives our brain tumor community a voice in our nation’s capital.

Research Funding

MOVING POTENTIAL NEW MEDICINES FORWARD: NBTS-funded research has led to at least 12 therapies evaluated as potential new treatments for brain tumors in clinical trials. At least seven (7) of these experimental medicines are still advancing in active clinical trials for patients with brain tumors.

Key Examples: 

IMPACT: Should any of these make it through the clinical trial process successfully – proving they are safe and effective – they would become much needed new treatments for brain tumor patients.

BUILDING OUR UNDERSTANDING OF BRAIN TUMORS & CREATING THE FOUNDATION FOR NEW, MORE PERSONALIZED TREATMENTS:NBTS-funded research has contributed, or directly led, to the discovery of a number of the most important “molecular markers,” or tumor characteristics, that are essential for determining the future course of treatment.

Key Examples: 

IMPACT: Better understanding of the underlying biology of brain tumors allows researchers and doctors to “look under the hood” of a brain tumor and understand their origins and how they function in order to know what can stop them. Further, precise classification of brain tumors allows researchers and doctors to better diagnose patients, plan treatment strategies, and make sure patients get the right treatment and right clinical trials at the right time.


DEVELOPING STRATEGIES TO DEFEAT Glioblastoma (GBM):Developed to take on the most prevalent and aggressive malignant brain tumor, NBTS’ Defeat GBM Research Collaborative has contributed to breakthrough research on glioblastoma tumor biology and treatment resistance and is bringing forth a host of both new targets for future medicines to attack and drugs of interest, with 4 potential candidatesidentified for evaluation in future clinical trials.

Key Examples of the results of the Defeat GBM Research Collaborative:

IMPACT: Collectively, these discoveries present a multitude of potential new approaches for treating glioblastoma that are now being evaluated further.

DISCOVERING A NOVEL TARGET FOR THE WORST TUMORS IN KIDS: NBTS funded research led to the molecular characterization of the most aggressive and deadly pediatric brain tumors – pediatric high-grade gliomas.

Key Examples:

IMPACT: Armed with this new knowledge, we have launched a new initiative launched called the Defeat Pediatric Brain Tumors Research Collaborative, which is attracting strong partnerships, while helping to reinvigorate the pediatric brain tumors research field around the world in the quest to develop much-needed new medicines for this disease.

Advocacy and Public Policy

PUTTING BRAIN TUMORS ON THE MAP AT THE NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE:NBTS Public Policy & Advocacy efforts pushed for, and helped lead to, the creation of a dedicated “Neuro-Oncology Branch”(NOB)at the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

IMPACT: The NOB has become a key place to conduct important brain tumor research and for patients to get second opinions on treatment options.

INCREASING FEDERAL DOLLARS FOR BRAIN TUMOR RESEARCH:NBTS Public Policy & Advocacy efforts have helped increase the money spent on brain tumor research by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) from$280 million in 2011 to an estimated $335 million in 2017, a $55 million, or nearly 20%, increase.

IMPACT: More money available for brain tumor research increases the pace – and odds – of future groundbreaking discoveries that contribute to the quest for cures.

CREATING (AND PROTECTING) A NEW STREAM OF RESEARCH FUNDING:NBTS Public Policy & Advocacy efforts helped make pediatric brain tumors (and now all brain tumors, including adults) eligible for research funding through the Department of Defense’s Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program. Further, NBTS helped increase the pool of money this program makes available for researchers applying for grants.

IMPACT: A vital new stream of funding for the field is now available to help advance research efforts.

AMPLIFYING THE BRAIN TUMOR VOICE & TAKING THE FIGHT TO THE HALLS OF CONGRESS:NBTS launched a Public Policy & Advocacy Program that leverages the passion, determination, and dedication of brain tumor patients, survivors, caregivers, family, and friends and channels it into effective efforts to influence public policy that impact the brain tumor community.

Key Examples:

IMPACT: Brain tumor advocacy has successfully pushed policymakers in D.C. to introduce and advance numerous bills that benefit brain tumor patients and brain tumor research. (SEE BELOW)

INTRODUCING AND ADVANCING NEW POLICIES:NBTS Public Policy & Advocacy efforts helped introduce key legislation that stands to benefit the brain tumor community.

Key Examples:

IMPACT: These bills would directly benefit the brain tumor community by making common treatments more affordable; accelerating pediatric brain tumor research efforts; and providing additional research funding and fostering innovation in biomedical research, respectively.


BUILDING AND FOSTERING THE BRAIN TUMOR RESEARCH FIELD:In its early days, NBTS and its legacy organizations helped build and develop the nascent neuro-oncology field.

Key Examples:

IMPACT: This work has helped move the field from a very limited understanding of brain tumors, to the point today where many brain tumors are well studied and new treatment approaches are now being developed based on that knowledge. Additionally, these efforts have resulted in advances like the creation of a new consensus imaging protocol (basic and advanced) for use in brain tumor clinical trialsto help reduce variability and improve confidence in using imaging data for decisions about the effectiveness of investigational drugs, and whitepapers published in a major brain tumor scientific/medical journal to educate the entire neuro-oncology field on key topics.

PUSHING FORWARD NEW RESEARCH STRATEGIES:NBTS has led the charge in pursuing new and innovative research models.

Key Examples:

IMPACT: NBTS’ embrace of new and emerging research techniques and strategies has pushed the brain tumor research field to be more creative and find innovative ways to accelerate research and new treatment development.

MAKING A ‘MOONSHOT’ AGAINST CANCER:NBTS’ CEO was invited in 2016 to serve on the “Blue Ribbon Panel” of national experts picked to advise then Vice President Joe Biden on his National Cancer Moonshot Initiative.

IMPACT: This gave the brain tumor community a voice in this high-profile national effort.

CONNECTING PATIENTS TO CLINICAL RESEARCH:NBTS developed and launched a brain tumor-specific clinical trial finderwhich will help patients find a trial that could potentially be a good fit for them.

IMPACT: The trial finder can help patients access the latest cutting-edge treatments in development for brain tumors, as an additional treatment option, while also increase awareness of, and enrollment in, brain tumor clinical trials to help ensure as many trials as possible can accrue the necessary patients to proceed.