As NBTS gets ready for Brain Tumor Awareness Month (BTAM) in May, I’m excited about the theme we’ve chosen for this year’s iteration of BTAM: BTAM = BTeAM. Beyond the clever play on the traditional acronym (and social media hashtag), this theme speaks to the crucial notion that the path to better treatments and cures is bolstered by teamwork, collaboration, and the contributions of individuals and organizations from many different walks of life, both inside and outside the brain tumor community. At NBTS we fervently believe this type of cooperation and partnership is the “special sauce” that leads to better outcomes.
Thus, this year we’re asking all who can to join our ‘Brain Tumor Team (BTeAM)’ as we seek to raise our voices and stimulate the engagement and action necessary to yield faster progress against brain tumors.
As we get to work in just a few days in amplifying our message and cause, I wanted to reflect on examples of teamwork that are on-going in the brain tumor community that ignite and carry out the kind of impact needed to ultimately cure the disease.
One such example is our partnership with Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (ABC2) to support the Race for Hope – DC. This awesome run/walk event brings together over 10,000 people annually from all over the country to honor loved ones and raise critical resources for both organizations to fight brain tumors. This year is Race for Hope – DC’s 20th anniversary and we’re proud to note that, together, we’ve raised $29 million cumulatively through the Race. Happy 20th Anniversary and here’s to our partner ABC2. Please join us if you can at the Race on Sunday, May 7.
Beyond the Race, ABC2 is also our partner in the Jumpstarting Brain Tumor Drug Development Coalition, along with our friends from the Society for Neuro-Oncology and the Musella Foundation for Brain Tumor Research and Information. In just a couple short years, this Coalition has already helped produce a new “Brain Tumor Imaging Protocol” for use in glioblastoma clinical trials.
Another example of teamwork through collaboration is the One Voice Against Cancer Coalition (OVAC), of which NBTS is a member. OVAC brings together many organizations across the cancer community to be a single, clear voice to Congress about the need to provide funding for cancer research. As we get ready for our annual Head to the Hill advocacy day on May 9, we will also be joining other cancer patient groups throughout the summer to educate policymakers about the value of research to our goal of finding a cure. Joining us again, for the second straight year, at Head to the Hill will be good friends from the Collaborative Ependymoma Research Network (CERN). Other policy coalitions we’re happy to participate in are the Alliance for Childhood Cancer, Patient’s Equal Access Coalition and the Deadliest Cancers Coalition.
And then there are our corporate and academic partners, who are critical teammates in driving research forward faster. For example, thanks to the partnership and enormous contributions of the Morgan Lewis law firm, Defeat GBM is now a model of research collaboration that has led to the discovery of new drug targeting strategies in brain tumors. Morgan Lewis’ work is what’s allowed leading minds from our academic and research institute partners like Ludwig Cancer Research, MD Anderson Cancer Center, UCLA and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to openly coordinate, collaborate, and commit their own resources to help Defeat GBM move forward faster. From industry, companies including AbbVie, Bristol Myers Squibb, Del Mar Pharmaceuticals, NICO, Novocure, Tocagen, and Genentech are among the growing number of industry collaborators to magnify the role of patient’s experiences in development of new treatments.
Whether it is advancing research, public policy or building awareness for our cause, collaborations are key to helping the entire brain tumor community just as families and networks of friends and health care providers are essential to each patient’s care team. A hearty spring shout out to our additional teammates including: The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, Students Supporting Brain Tumor Research, Medical Research Charities, Society for Neuro-Oncology, ShopRite Stores and the Zallie family, Icelandic Glacial Water, the Rally Foundation, the Colony Group, the Stringer Foundation, Loglio and the Dabbiere family, OligoNation and the Greene family, the V Foundation for Cancer Research, WiseApe Tea, the Sharpe family, and many, many more.
Thank you collaborators, volunteers and supporters.
We look forward to forming our biggest Brain Tumor Team yet in BTeAM 2017.
David F. Arons, JD
Chief Executive Officer
National Brain Tumor Society