2011 Key Accomplishments

Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (ABC2) supports projects designed to rapidly move innovative ideas from the lab to the clinic setting for investigation and trial, thereby increasing treatment options and improving disease management for patients. We collaborate with other organizations to co-fund projects - leveraging our dollars for the greatest impact. As a result, we directed more than $1.5 million to brain cancer research in 2011. 

In looking at our projects we use three basic measures – Impact, Leadership and Leverage:

  • Does our work have the potential to make a strong positive impact in the field?
  • Are we showing leadership?  Are we taking risks, going places where others haven’t gone or won’t go?  Are we being creative and courageous in opening new fields and driving new approaches?
  • Can we generate leverage to increase our impact?  Of course, this is not always possible, but where we can bring others along with us their presence, connections, reputation and funding can serve as force multipliers that enable us to make even greater impact.

We want to share with you some of our key accomplishments from 2011.

ABC2 Project Award Impact

Duke University Medical Center - Dr. Hai Yan
Novel Approaches To Target Gliomas – IDH1 and IDH2 Mutations in Gliomas 
ABC2 and The V Foundation partnered to award a four-year, $1 million research grant to Dr. Yan.  The project is a cutting-edge exploration of IDH mutations in cancer metabolism and tumor development as well as a pioneering effort to develop clinical diagnostic tools and molecular-based therapies.

University of California Los Angeles - Dr. Linda Liau
Dendritic Cell Vaccine for Low-Grade Glioma Patients Trial
ABC2 partnered with Miles for Hope to play a key role in funding the new trial for low-grade glioma patients.  Dr. Liau’s earlier study, launched in 2003, found that the personalized immunotherapy vaccine may double survival time for high-grade glioma (GBM) patients. The aim of the new phase 1 clinical trial is to test the safety and toxicity of the vaccine in low-grade patients.

The Florida Center for Brain Tumor Research(FCBTR) Partnership
ABC2 and FCBTR partnered in 2011 to co-fund four grants to Florida-based research institutions.

  • Scripps Research Institute Florida - Dr. Vanessa Saunders - Interplay between EGFRvIII and c-Met In Glioblastoma Multiforme 
  • University of Florida - Dr. Jeffery Harrison - Targeting Chemokine Receptors in Glioblastoma: Redefining the Functions of CXCR4 and CXCR7 on Glioma Stem Cells 
  • MD Anderson Orlando - Dr. Don Eslin - Nifurtimox and Radiation for Medulloblastoma Therapy
  • Florida State University - Dr. Eric Laywell - Improving Glioma Treatment with Adaptive Therapy

ABC2 Industry New Investments and Continued Progress

Regulus Therapeutics and Samsung Medical Center - Micro-RNA Therapeutics for Glioblastoma

In December 2011, ABC2 invested in a pioneering collaborative project involving Regulus, the world leader in microRNAs (miRs) and with the biomedical research arm of Samsung, a world leader in the creation of orthotopic xenograft models of GBM.  Samsung has created a panel of 50 different patient-derived glioblastoma xenograft models and they have collected a significant bank of human GBM tumor samples.  Regulus will analyze these samples for messenger RNA and miRs to understand the regulation patterns of the miRs and downstream gene networks.  They will then evaluate the efficacy and therapeutic potential associated with blocking miR function and will use this information to both identify therapeutic anti-miRs and then evaluate them in the orthotopic xenograft models.  This is an entirely new approach to GBM therapy. 

Tocagen - Clinical Trial For GBM Patients Using Virally-based Drug Delivery System
Tocagen is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company pursuing the discovery, development and commercialization of gene transfer products for the treatment of cancer.  ABC2 was the first non-profit to invest in Tocagen's virally-based drug delivery project:  Toca 511 with 5-FC.  In 2011, Tocagen began enrolling patients with recurrent GBM in its first-in-human clinical trial and continued to build their clinical trials network. 

ABC2 Research Leadership

Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure believes that collaboration will speed new therapies for brain cancer patients.  ABC2 authentically builds a network of researchers and a community of supporters that give us feedback, encouragement, and lead us to new opportunities.

ABC2 Annual Scientific Meeting – September 2011
ABC2 held its 10th annual Scientific Meeting this September 28-30th in Sausalito, California.  The best and brightest in cancer research gathered in hopes of inspiring innovative thinking to accelerate science and make new therapies a reality for patients.  Institutions represented included: UCLA, Genentech, Google, The V Foundation, Harvard/Dana Farber, UCSF, Amgen, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Regulus, The Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Tocagen, Celgene, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, UCSD, Quintiles Innovation, The Chordoma Foundation and others. 

The meeting has built an excellent track record of seeding promising collaborations.  The early feedback from participants has been extremely positive.  ABC2 looks forward to announcing a number of novel and exciting partnerships in the months ahead.

CMV/Brain Cancer Workshop – April 2011
ABC2 hosted a groundbreaking workshop that examined the possible link between brain cancer and human cytomegalovirus, a common herpes virus called CMV.  The workshop was co-sponsored by the National Brain Tumor Society and organized by Drs. Charles Cobbs, California Pacific Medical Center(CPMC); Duane Mitchell, Duke University; Susan Chang, UCSF; Nino Chiocca, University of Ohio and Amy Heimberger, MD Anderson Cancer Center.

The group exchanged ideas and study results that they hope will bring the scientific community closer to proving or disproving the theory that CMV causes and/or promotes growth of glioblastoma multiforme - the most aggressive form of brain cancer.

Developments since the meeting include:

  • Charles Cobbs is planning a Phase I clinical trial at CPMC for up front and recurrent GBM patients using an antiviral to CMV together with standard chemo and radiation therapy.  The Phase II trial will be conducted at UCSF.
  • The group of researchers who attended our meeting submitted a joint manuscript to the journal Neuro-Oncology outlining current research and future directions of CMV and glioma. 
  • Soderberg-Naucler recently published an article in the Journal of Clinical Investigation on the detection of cytomegalovirus in medulloblastoma, the most common malignant brain tumors in children, thus showing CMV as a potential therapeutic target in a second form of brain cancer. 


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