Florida Reinstates Funding For Brain Tumor Research Center

On May 20th, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed into law a bill reinstating the funding of the Florida Center for Brain Tumor Research (FCBTR).  The funding enables researchers to tap into a world-class brain tumor tissue repository and registry to advance their projects.  It also helps to attract more top biomedical researchers and industry to Florida.  Brain tumor research advocates, including Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure(ABC2), were instrumental in the successful restoration of the program funding.

Since 2006, the FCBTR at the Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Brain Institute of the University of Florida has worked with hospitals statewide to collect tissue and disseminate data on brain tumors, creating a powerful tool to facilitate clinical trials, funding opportunities and research collaborations.

FCBTR is a collaborative effort and its Scientific Advisory Council includes top researchers from H. Lee Moffett Cancer Center and Research Institute, Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic Florida, Scripps Research Institute, MD Anderson Cancer Center Orlando, University of Miami and a representative of neurosurgeons in private practice. FCBTR has sponsored statewide Brain Tumor Biomedical Technology Summits to encourage collaboration.

FCBTR also developed a unique partnership with ABC2 on a matching grants program. ABC2 was invited by FCBTR to organize a national research review committee to review and award grant funds. “This not only provided excellent leverage for our funding, but it continued to advance us as leaders in this field in Florida,” said Max Wallace, CEO of ABC2. 

Despite the successful research collaborations and partnerships, the state of Florida faced deep economic challenges in 2011 and 2012 and the program funding was cut in those years.  However, advocates of brain tumor research never stopped fighting to get the program reinstated. "The funding was restored through the smart and persistent efforts of Bill Friedman and Barbara Frentzen at the University of Florida," said Wallace. "Our supporters in Florida have worked hard to raise funds for the FCBTR/ABC2 research partnership through the Florida Brain Cancer 5k.  FCBTR was the centerpiece of our effort and when it lost state funding, our mechanism for awarding funds was gone.  We will now be able to continue funding Florida-based research."

Barbara Frentzen, ARNP and adminstrator of the FCBTR is grateful for ABC2's efforts, "Max's supporting letter helped tremendously to convince state legislators that this program is seeing a positive return on investment," said Frentzen. "We've had a wonderful collaboration with ABC2 and are excited to continue it."

The brain tumor community in Florida is deeply grateful to Anne Gannon, the author of the original legislation.  In 2005, Gannon’s husband died of a brain tumor. During his illness, the family realized treatment options were limited.  As a Florida state representative, Gannon shepherded a bill through the Florida Legislature in 2006 that provided $500,000 for the creation of the Florida Center for Brain Tumor Research to develop brain tumor treatments and cures.  "The reinstated funding is a cause for celebration," said Gannon.  "It means that next year more tissue can be collected, more research information can be shared, and more lives can potentially be saved."

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March 19, 2022 09:35 PM
Proceeds from the Florida Brain Cancer 5k support this ongoing partnership.
March 18, 2022 04:41 PM
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