An Evening of Scientific Discovery and Adventure

Event Dates: October 03, 2021

Please join us for a fascinating evening of scientific adventure!

"Science and Serendipity: How a Chance Discovery May Lead To a Brain Cancer Cure"

Wednesday, October 3, 6:30 - 8:30 pm

A conversation with Dr. Greg Riggins, Professor of Neurosurgery and Oncology & Genetic Medicine, Johns Hopkins

Johns Hopkins University - Montgomery County Campus, 9601 Medical Center Drive (Broschart Rd. Entrance), A & R Building Lounge, Rockville, MD 20850

Please RSVP by Friday, September 28 to Cristina Bonner: 202-419-3140 or [email protected] (Additional guests are welcome.  Please provide us with their names.  Seating is limited.  Please respond as soon as possible.) 

Business Casual - Hors d'Oeuvres and Wine

2012 Science Salon Series sponsored by Genentech


"The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!', but 'That's funny…'" - Isaac Asimov

From the smallpox vaccine, to penicillin, to insulin, some of medicine's most important advances have occurred through serendipity.  On October 3rd, Dr. Greg Riggins of Johns Hopkins will share his story of accidental discovery that may lead to a new, effective treatment for brain cancer.

Riggins leads the Brain Cancer Biology and Therapy Laboratory at Johns Hopkins. The goal of their lab is to locate the genetic and genomic changes that lead to brain cancer. A few years ago, Riggins learned that his lab's mice colony had a pinworm infection. He wasn't sure his particular batch of mice had the worms, but as a precaution he treated everything with Fenbendazole to wipe out the worms colony wide.  Not only did the Fenbendazole stop the pinworm, it also stopped intracranial brain tumors from starting (engrafting) in his lab mice.

Following his hunch, Riggins looked into FDA approved versions of Fendbendazole.  His lab compared several compounds and found Mebendazole (another antiparasitic agent) worked best in the different animal models of glioblastoma.

But, as bad luck would have it, the only company that produced Mebendazole in the United States had recently stopped manufacturing the drug.  Undaunted, Riggins began to search for international manufacturers.  Eighteen months later, he found a source to import and applied and received FDA approval for the trial sponsored by Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure.

Riggins' protocol has been submitted to the Institutional Review Board (IRB), for the last regulatory hurdle. The trial is designed to be upfront in combination with Temozolomide to try and maximize the benefit of Mebendazole, which is relatively non-toxic. "Once the protocol is approved by the IRB, we can start enrolling patients," said Riggins. "The positive impact on patient survival and quality of life is our major long-term goal."


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