FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: John Reher
Burlingame, July 1, 2022
I am pleased to provide you with this brief update on our progress at Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (ABC2), as we did last year at this time.
Our mission at ABC2 is to fund outstanding and novel translational science that is aimed at the discovery of a cure for brain cancer. We identify leverageable opportunities that will enable us to help advance the field in a meaningful way and in the near term. We are working with private industry, government agencies and academia to overcome technical and financial barriers to new treatments and accelerate the cure for brain cancer.
ABC2 continues to make progress on several fronts - from recruiting new physician-scientists into the neuro-oncology field to creating innovative approaches to technology/product development, through preclinical screening, rapidly leading to clinical trials.
Young Investigator Awards
One of the critical elements of our approach during the past year has been to invest in people - specifically, young physician-scientists who are building their careers in translational medicine. We created the ABC2 Young Investigator Award, which provides support for a three-year period as the awardee develops his/her career in neuro-oncology. We were pleased to deliver three awards to these very promising individuals:
Specific information concerning the ABC2 Young Investigator awardees and their fields of interest can be found on our website under the Grant Awards tab.
- Zhiliang Wang, M.D., Ph.D., at the Burnham Institute in San Diego
- Viviane Tabar, M.D., at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York
- Duane Mitchell, M.D., Ph.D., at the Brain Tumor Center at Duke in North Carolina.
Nine New Project Awards Granted
For the 2003 grant year we delivered 9 new awards to leading investigators to support their promising therapies rapidly advancing towards the clinic. Recipients include researchers at UCSF, UCLA, Duke University, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Burnham Institute, Yale University, St Jude Children's Hospital and the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in the UK. We are particularly pleased to be able to include our first international award to the ICR, and our first pediatric award to St Jude Children's Hospital for a novel therapy for medulloblastoma. The pediatric award was another first for ABC2 - we joined with the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation (PBTF) to fund this grant to St. Jude. By partnering with PBTF, we were able to double the amount of the grant, leverage our resources and accelerate the progress in our quest for new treatments for brain cancer.
Our grants are intended to encourage individual investigators' creativity, which we believe must be explored and enhanced to maximize our chances of accelerating a cure for brain cancer. Previous recipients have, as a result of ABC2 awards, moved their products into clinical trials and received awards from the NIH to further their pioneering work. The April 27 edition of the Wall Street Journal profiled the advances of two of our awardees, Drs. Keith Black and William Pardridge, in achieving delivery of therapies past the blood brain barrier for treating brain cancer. (A reprint of that article is enclosed.)
Preclinical Screening Efforts
Since our inception, we have facilitated the testing of 49 therapies in preclinical models at Duke University and through other project investigator awards. At Duke we established a preclinical screening program which screens therapies at no cost to the sponsor that provides molecules for testing. Through these important investments, we hope to identify new and promising therapies for brain cancer patients. To date, 11 of the therapies tested in these preclinical screens have translated into clinical trials.
The ABC2 Clinical Network provides guidance and counsel to ABC2 and various sponsors of therapeutics in the design and execution of early stage, molecularly targeted clinical trials for adult glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Charter members of the network include four leading neuro-oncology centers: University of California, San Francisco; University of California, Los Angeles; Duke University; and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. The network's focus is to understand and use specific abnormalities in individual patients to customize their therapy through science-driven trials. In 2003, the ABC2 clinical network met with and advised five pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in the design of clinical trials of new therapies for glioblastoma patients. Our first trial involving a new molecularly based therapy (Tarceva, an EGF-receptor antagonist, from Genentech) was initiated by this clinical network.
Partnership with Prostate Cancer Foundation and Ingenuity Systems
The partnership of ABC2, Ingenuity Systems and the Prostate Cancer Foundation (previously known as CaPCURE) generates the knowledge to enable testing of existing drugs, which are used for other indications, to be tested for effects against recently discovered gene defects associated with prostate and brain cancer pathways. A number of leading researchers are participating in the program, including researchers from Duke University, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, University of Michigan, UCSF and UCLA. ABC2 is funding part of the program, because in doing so, we are creating opportunities to quickly bring new treatment paradigms to cancer patients. During the past year the group has not only clarified pathways but has also identified several existing drugs that, based on their mechanism of action, may have utility in brain cancer.
Last fall we introduced our newsletter, ADVANCE, which profiles the achievements of ABC2 awardees that have been enabled by your generous contributions. We hope you find these periodic newsletters informative and appreciate your suggestions for additions or improvements.
We are thankful for your support, and we will continue to update you on our aggressive efforts to accelerate the development of a cure for patients with this devastating disease. If you have any suggestions to help move our organization closer to achieving its mission, please feel free to email me at your convenience.
Executive Director and President
Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure, Inc.
# # #