New research initiative to understand long-term survival with deadly brain cancer

The European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) and the Brain Tumor Center at the University Hospital Zurich receive 2‘000‘000 USD award to study long-term survival in glioblastoma, a deadly form of brain cancer.

Glioblastoma, a common type of brain tumor, is one of the deadliest cancers. Worldwide, it afflicts three out of 100’000 people per year, and although it commonly occurs after the fifth decade of life, younger adults and children are also affected. About half of the patients die within one year of diagnosis, but a small number of patients do have a better outcome and become long-term survivors. Considering this, the Brain Tumor Funders’ Collaborative (BTFC) initiated a call in 2013 for a new research network aimed at understanding the reasons for long-term survival in this small group of patients. Such knowledge would allow better treatment strategies and medicines to be developed for the patients with less favorable outcomes. This project is generously supported by a grant of 2,000,000 USD.

BTFC selected a research consortium led by the EORTC Brain Tumor Group and the Brain Tumor Center at the University Hospital in Zurich. This consortium comprises more than 20 Neuro-oncology Centers of Excellence across the globe and includes many eminent researchers from Europe, the United States and Australia. The researchers aim to elucidate the basis for long-term survival in patients with glioblastoma by comprehensively studying patient histories, tumor characteristics at the molecular genetic level, and the effects of treatment. To do this, the researchers will study a group of more than 300 patients who survived glioblastoma for more than five years. Understanding the characteristics of long-term survival in these patients will lead to a better understanding of the biology of this deadly disease, and, ultimately, improved treatments for all patients with glioblastoma.

Inaugurated in 2003, the Brain Tumor Funders’ Collaborative (BTFC) is a strategic partnership among private philanthropic and advocacy organizations in the US and Canada to pool their resources and focus their research dollars toward advancing the understanding and treatment of brain tumors. The five members of the BTFC are: the American Brain Tumor Association, Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada, Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation, James S. McDonnell Foundation, and the Sontag Foundation.

The European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) is an International non-profit association (AISBL) founded in 1962 and established under the laws of Belgium. The aims of EORTC are to develop, conduct, coordinate, and stimulate translational and clinical research in Europe to improve the management of cancer and related problems by increasing survival but also patient quality of life. Since 2012, Prof. Roger Stupp, Director of the Department of Oncology and Cancer Center at the Zurich University Hospital, is president of the EORTC. EORTC is both multinational and multidisciplinary, and the EORTC network comprises over 300 hospitals and cancer centers in over 30 countries, including about 2,500 collaborators from all disciplines involved in cancer treatment and research. The primary aim of the EORTC Brain Tumor Group is to conduct, develop, coordinate, and stimulate clinical and translational research for the treatment of brain tumors and metastases.

Media Contact

Prof. Dr. Michael Weller
Klinik für Neurologie & Hirntumorzentrum
Universitätsspital Zürich
Frauenklinikstrasse 26
CH-8091 Zürich
Tel.: 41 44 255 5500
Fax: 41 44 255 4507

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