National Brain Tumor Society and OligoNation announced Dr. David Louis, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and Dr. Anders Persson, PhD, of The University of California, San Francisco as the first grant recipients of the Oligodendroglioma Research Fund. The two grants, each for two years and $300,000 ($150,000/year), also mark the successful launch of the first initiative under the National Brain Tumor Society’s newest funding model, the Community Research Fund program.
The Oligodendroglioma Research Fund was launched in June of 2011 through the leadership of the family of Spencer and Zach Greene. The brothers – Spencer, 21, and Zach, 24 – were both diagnosed with an oligodendroglioma (oligo) brain tumor within two years of each other in 2008 and 2010, respectively. It then became the family’s mission to unite patients, families, friends, and people affected by oligo nationwide with a common goal to fight for a cure. The Greenes contacted the National Brain Tumor Society and together established the Organization’s first Community Research Fund, with a goal of raising $300,000 (the minimum amount needed for a grant to conduct significant research) specifically for oligo research projects.
“After Spencer and Zach were diagnosed, we quickly realized that there was essentially no active medical research directed at oligos,” said Brock Greene, Spencer and Zach’s father and the founder of Oligo Nation, the effort’s fundraising and awareness campaign. “We knew that for progress to be made against this devastating disease, there needed to be much more research done that could identify the genetic underpinnings of these tumors and figure out how to attack them. And it was obvious that we had to find the right partner to help us reach our goal of more effective treatments.”
Through the passion and commitment of the Greenes and other families touched by oligo, the Fund has raised close to $1,000,000 to date.
Dr. Louis, Pathologist-in-Chief at MGH and Professor of Pathology at HMS, and Dr. Persson, of UCSF’s Department of Neurology and Neurological Surgery, are both internationally recognized leaders, and have years of experience in the field of study of malignant brain tumors. Both researchers will lead projects that seek to determine what causes Oligo tumors to develop and subsequently grow through next-generation sequencing (Louis), and tumor modeling (Persson), so that future investigations can better understand what biomarkers to target with potential therapies.