The brain tumor community is dedicated to fighting one of the toughest battles imaginable. Thus we are all – from patients, to caregivers, to doctors, to scientists, to advocates – constantly looking forward to the next hurdle we have to jump on our mission toward a cure. Here at the National Brain Tumor Society, specifically, we spend a great deal of time and effort researching the next great investment we can make, collaboration or partnership we can form, or critical discussion we can facilitate, etc., that we often never stop to fully appreciate all that we’ve already accomplished together.
So without further ado, here are 10 of our proudest (in no particular order) achievements from 2013, which were only able to happen with your support:
- Launched the Defeat GBM Research Collaborative, to double the five-year survival rate of patients with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most common and deadliest form of brain cancer, by bringing together some of the world’s top brain tumor experts to work in collaboration on four synergistic projects.
- Introduced the Clinical Trial Endpoints Initiative, to jumpstart brain tumor drug development by identifying, with the buy-in of all of the critical parties (clinicians, researchers, biopharma and the FDA), better measures and pathways for the evaluation and approval of potential brain tumor therapies.
- Launched the first project under our Community Research Fund model – which allows a group of donors to pool their money together for a dedicated research project on a tumor-type that matters most to them – focusing specifically on Oligodendrogliomas.
- Hosted the first Advancing Research to Treatments (ART) Conference, bringing together over 100 brain tumor researchers, biotechnology and pharmaceutical executives, venture capital (VC) investors, government officials, and brain tumor patients to discuss the challenges, and how to overcome them, surrounding therapeutic development.
- Hosted the 3rd Annual Head to the Hill lobby day, bringing the collective voice of hundreds of brain tumor advocates from across the country to Capitol Hill to educate lawmakers on the critical issues currently facing the brain tumor community.
- Partnered with the pioneering Sage Bionetworks to begin planning and developing a crowdsourced “DREAM Cancer Prediction Challenge,” which harnesses Big Data and “challenges” researchers from across the world to compete to create a computational model, using systems biology approaches, that can predict drug response in GBM.
- Continued to help drive momentum toward passing a law requiring insurance companies in the private market to cover oral chemotherapy the same as they cover IV chemotherapy (read more about this issue here). National Brain Tumor Society and our many dedicated advocates played a vital role in getting the Cancer Drug Coverage parity Act of 2013 introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as gaining 66 bi-partisan co-sponsors; along with a companion bill, The Cancer Treatment Parity Act, introduced in the U.S. Senate.
- Received encouraging early report outs on our currently funded pediatric projects in Developmental Neurobiology, and began planning for a large pediatric initiative, which will aim to change the way pediatric cancer treatments are developed and tested. (More in 2014 on this!)
- Rallied over 40,000 members of the brain tumor community to come together, build teams, and participate in our national events program of Brain Tumor Walk, Races, and Rides, raising more than $7 million to advance brain tumor therapies.
- Partnered with the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) to organize a Cancer Systems Biology Think Tank at which world-renowned researchers in the field of cancer systems biology discussed ways to move the field forward to improve the efficiency and success of today’s cancer research enterprise.
We look forward to building an even better list for you in 2014. Thank you for your support.