Based in the United Kingdom, The Brain Tumour Charity supports research on what they describe as the most incredible part of the human body—the brain. The charity has two ambitious goals: double survival from brain tumors in the U.K. in the next 10 years and halve the harm brain tumors have on quality of life within five years. To help achieve these goals and speed up progress against brain cancers globally, The Brain Tumour Charity funds highly innovative and promising neuro-oncology research.
The Brain Tumour Charity recently awarded Rameen Beroukhim, MD, PhD, a grant of more than $1.5 million to lead an international collaboration to examine the drivers of gliomas, the most common brain tumors occurring in childhood. Children with high-grade gliomas often have a very difficult prognosis and need new treatments to improve outcomes. And while children with low-grade gliomas often survive, they can experience serious side effects from the disease as well as from the treatments currently available. Beroukhim’s research aims to expand treatment options for all children with gliomas. Beroukhim is specifically studying a group of proteins called transcription factors, which play a key role in normal neurodevelopment. When mutated, transcription factors may switch on developmental pathways that would normally be switched off—a mechanism that is linked to gliomas. Beroukhim aims to better understand this mechanism and how to target transcription factors as a new way to treat pediatric gliomas.
With Beroukhim as the lead investigator, this project is being carried out by a geographically dispersed team of researchers at Dana-Farber and institutions in Europe and the U.K. The researchers at Dana-Farber include Mimi Bandopadhayay, MBBS, PhD, and Mariella Filbin, MD, PhD, research codirector of the Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Program. These world-leading experts across a diverse set of disciplines—including genomics, epigenomics, developmental biology, and chemistry—each bring unique knowledge and strategies to bear on the goal to deliver new pediatric cancer treatments.
“This support from The Brain Tumour Charity allows us to join forces with many of the top leaders in the world across varied scientific disciplines to develop new drugs to target transcription factors and combat gliomas,” said Beroukhim. “This work could ultimately make an enormous difference by improving outcomes for young patients with these brain tumors, for whom new and better treatments are desperately needed.”
Pediatric cancer is a key focus of The Dana-Farber Campaign, the Institute’s multi-year fundraising effort which aims to accelerate its strategic priorities by supporting revolutionary science, extraordinary care, and exceptional expertise.
“This award to Dr. Rameen Beroukhim is an example of The Brain Tumour Charity funding world-class researchers and connecting global experts to accelerate the discovery of new treatments,” said David Jenkinson, PhD, chief scientific officer and interim CEO, The Brain Tumour Charity. “Together with the team at Dana-Farber, we’re improving our understanding of brain tumours and advancing faster towards a cure.”