As we come to the year’s end, I want to talk with you about some of the important things we have done this year, with your help, to bring better brain cancer treatments to patients. As you know, our mission is focused and straightforward – we work with researchers and clinicians to nurture their best new ideas, forge new partnerships and bring new treatments into the clinic for patients. Many nonprofits spread their funds into multiple areas, including raising awareness and providing patient support. We do not. We focus only on what we do best, developing better treatments as quickly as possible.
This year, in one of our most exciting projects, we worked with Dr. Duane Mitchell and the immunotherapy team at the University of Florida to launch the BRAVO trial. This trial brings a groundbreaking personalized vaccine immune therapy to children diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a devastating cancer of the brain stem.
For the past several years we have worked with the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and the Broad Institute to create a powerful genomic analysis system that enables physicians to generate a molecular profile of a patient’s tumor and then use that profile to match the patient to the most effective available treatment. Last year when I wrote to you, we were working with 10 major cancer centers and 3 drug companies to launch INSIGhT, the first-ever adaptive clinical trial for brain cancer. INSIGhT is now well underway and the ABC² profiling system has already been used to help more than 100 patients in that trial.
One of our true “shoot the moon” projects involves the repurposing of an anti-pinworm drug, Mebendazole, into a safe, affordable and effective brain cancer treatment. Following a successful ABC²-funded Phase 1 safety trial, we are now working with Dr. Gregory Riggins at Johns Hopkins, the researcher who discovered the anti-cancer properties of Mebendazole, to take the next major step and launch a Phase 2 efficacy trial.
Finally, we have always been proud of our role helping build the brain tumor research community. Last month we hosted 25 of the most promising young brain cancer researchers for our first-ever ABC² Emerging Leaders Workshop. This three-day meeting brought together scientists, physicians and surgeons from around the country to share cutting-edge research ideas. Exciting collaborations have already sprung from this meeting and we look forward to helping move these ideas forward.
As we head into the holidays, I invite you to join us in our search for important new ways to treat and eventually cure this awful disease. We depend on your financial support and hope that you will make a year-end gift to help bring new treatments to the patients who need them.
Thank you and best wishes for the New Year.
President and CEO