Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure and the Tug McGraw Foundation Fund
UCSF Investigator, Dr. Joseph Costello
Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure and the Tug McGraw Foundation have jointly awarded a 2007 research grant to Dr. Joseph Costello from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Dr. Costello's project, "Evolution of a hypomethylated and hyerproliferative phenotype in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and its reversal by a high methyl-donor diet" is a cutting-edge in vivo exploration of how replenishing DNA methylation (the normal enzyme-mediated addition of methyl-groups to DNA, managed through diet) can affect GBM tumor growth.
"This grant provides me with an exceptional opportunity to conduct this study which, if successful, could lead to a novel and quickly available dietary approach for replenishing global DNA methylation in order to control tumor growth," said Dr. Costello.
This is the second time these two non-profit organizations have come together to jointly fund a research award. This grant is the result of a strategic collaboration, combining Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure's dedication to advancing therapies leading to a cure for brain cancer and the Tug McGraw Foundation's commitment to enhancing the quality of life for children and adults with brain tumors and their families.
"Together, our two organizations are able to address the critical need to improve the lives of patients by co-funding research," said Kate Carr, President and CEO of Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure. "Our goal is to provide innovative investigators with the support they require to make breakthroughs and this work holds the potential to enhance our arsenal of targeted brain cancer therapies."
"We believe collaboration is a critical component to success and advancement - and we encourage alliance among brain tumor organizations as we can best serve patients by working together," said Jennifer Brusstar, President and CEO of the Tug McGraw Foundation. "Co-funding this award makes good sense as working together will maximize our positive impact on the lives of patients with brain tumors and their families."
About the Research
Tumor cell growth is believed to be due to deregulation of genes through genetic and epigenetic mechanisms. Epigenetic mechanisms of gene regulation include DNA methylation. Dr. Costello and his team have discovered a novel connection between severe loss of DNA methylation and excessive cell growth in human glioblastomas (GBM). The connection appears to involve the abnormal activation of a small set of genes that are normally kept silent by methylation, and when activated might cause increased growth. To evaluate this connection, and to make use of it therapeutically, he will determine whether the abnormal methylation actually causes the gene activation which, in turn, causes the cell growth.
To determine if loss of methylation causes increased cell growth, Dr. Costello will use a GBM xenograft model in which the live human GBM is obtained from the patient during surgery. It is believed that diets high in methyl-contributors can increase DNA methylation levels. This study will determine if replenishing methylation can help control tumor growth.
"Advancements in personalized medicine are on the leading edge of how we understand and treat cancer," said Carr. "Dr. Costello's laboratory study will provide new insights into the mechanisms of how brain tumors grow and, it is hoped, lead to a new treatment options for patients in the near future."
About Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure
Upon his diagnosis with brain cancer, Dan Case worked to mobilize change. Dan, his brother Steve Case and their families, along with leading scientists and entrepreneurs formed a not-for-profit organization, Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure, to fill the desperate need for new and effective treatments and hasten the discovery of a cure for brain cancer. The organization works to raise awareness about brain cancer and promotes advancements in critical scientific research through research grants and partnerships.
Additional information can be found at www.abc2.org.
About The Tug McGraw Foundation
The Tug McGraw Foundation was established by Tug McGraw in 2003 to raise funds to enhance the quality of life of children and adults with brain tumors and their families by stimulating and facilitating research that addresses the physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and spiritual impact of the disease.
Additional information can be found at www.tugmcgraw.org.