Here is some information from the team at the Barrow Brain Tumor Research Center at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona. Read on and you will understand why we have teamed up with this Center to fight Brain Cancer.
The Barrow Brain Tumor Research Center (BBTRC)
Simply put, the Barrow Neurological Institute is in position to ascend to the international forefront of brain tumor research and clinical care. To make this leap, we are preparing the creation of a Barrow Brain Tumor Research Center (BBTRC), composed of integrated clinical-translational subunits and designed to catalyze scientific discovery, improve interdisciplinary collaboration, and serve as a national and international center for brain tumor clinical trials.
The scientific platform for the BBTRC will consist of five independent laboratories, investigating distinct, but interrelated, mechanisms driving brain tumor biology:
Regulation of glioma cancer stem cell growth
Metabolic signatures identifying cancer stem cells
Immune-mediated evasion by migratory glioma cells
Heritable pathways governing meningioma development
Non-genetic (epigenetic) systems that alter brain tumor genomes
Each laboratory will function as a collaborative workspace, where a team of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and residents under the direction of a principal investigator will work alongside neurosurgeons, neuro-oncologists, and neuropathologists to unify basic science, translational and clinical research elements into novel strategies targeting brain tumor diagnostics, therapy, and monitoring.
Upon the BBTRC’s clinical platform, our robust clinical volume will then fuel a clinical trial infrastructure comprised of neurosurgical oncologists, neuro-oncologists, radiation oncologists, and neuro-imaging specialists. Because of our unmatched capacity for patient recruitment, homegrown intramural phase I and II clinical trials will be conducted rapidly and candidates for large, multicenter phase III studies will be identified efficiently. Beyond our own laboratory efforts, select extramurally-designed brain tumor therapies will also be recruited for phase I, II, and III clinical trials to be conducted within the BBTRC.
Through the BBTRC, the Barrow Neurological Institute is projected to double its clinical trials involvement in 5 years, enabling us to offer every brain tumor patient at least one experimental therapeutic option in addition to standard therapy. Among the innovations anticipated from the BBTRC will be the world’s first clinical trial selectively targeting human glioma stem cells – arguably the most potent and therapeutically-resistant cellular fraction within each glioma. Beyond the BBTRC’s fortification of our core neurosurgical oncology activities, our laboratory efforts will also drive new programs in correlative physiologic imaging, linking tissue with surrogate imaging markers, and in bioinformatics and neuro-epidemiology, identifying new paradigms for the molecular and genetic classification of gliomas. Other research efforts will focus not only on the biology of meningiomas, but on expanding our surgical outcome analyses and fostering clinical trials to study novel technological innovations.
While the proposed Center is both ambitious and unconventional, its objectives are practical and achievable. Although its essential elements already exist, the BBTRC seeks to impact brain tumor patients in the near-term by developing new avenues of creative clinical and research collaboration, introducing a rapid-sequence clinical trials program, and adding the Barrow’s fire and drive to the national and international brain tumor community.
Appropriate funding estimated at $8M will be needed to endow the Barrow Brain Tumor Research Center to pay for operational expenses not covered by extramural grants. Although, we fully anticipate that the BBTRC will eventually be funded by extramural grants, philanthropic funding required to support initial laboratory start up will total just over $9M during the first eight years of operation. Although local and community support will initially serve as the nidus for this program and its endowment, future sources of funds will also be sought from the state and the NIH in all forms, including designation of the Barrow Brain Tumor Research Center as an NIH Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE).