Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure and The V Foundation have jointly awarded a $1 million research grant to Dr. Hai Yan from Duke University Medical Center to further develop novel approaches to target gliomas. This grant represents a unique collaboration among two top cancer organizations joining forces to fund research that holds the potential to dramatically improve the lives of patients living with brain cancer.
This is the first time these two non-profit organizations have come together to jointly fund a research award. The collaboration was developed at the 13th Annual V Foundation Wine Celebration – The V Foundation’s signature cancer fundraiser held in Napa Valley each August. This year, the Wine Celebration’s Fund A Need program put brain cancer research in the spotlight. With a generous $500,000 matching gift from Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure, $1 million was raised at the event. The research partnership combines Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure’s dedication to advancing therapies leading to a cure for brain cancer and the V Foundation’s commitment to fund research to find cures for all cancers.
“Our partnership with The V Foundation is a great example of how two leading cancer funding organizations, working together, can maximize the impact on brain tumor research,” said Max Wallace, CEO of Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure. “Our co-funded grant to Hai Yan and his team at Duke will advance their pioneering glioma research aimed at improving treatments for patients suffering from this devastating disease.”
“We believe collaboration is a critical component to success and advancement – and we encourage alliance among cancer organizations as we can best serve patients by working together,” said Nick Valvano, CEO of The V Foundation. “Co-funding this award will maximize our positive impact on the lives of patients with brain tumors and their families.”
Dr. Yan’s project, “Developing Novel Approaches to Target Glioma” is a cutting-edge exploration of IDH mutations in cancer metabolism and tumor development and a pioneering effort to develop clinical diagnostic tools and molecular-based therapies. “This grant provides me with an exceptional opportunity to conduct this study which, if successful, could lead to a greater understanding of cancer metabolism which may yield clues to targeting other cancers as well,” said Dr. Yan. “These new discoveries and the new area of research will give our patients hope.”
About the Research
Malignant gliomas are among the most lethal cancers and most common form of brain cancers. Of the 20,000 Americans affected each year, more than half die within 18 months of diagnosis. Gliomas arise when genetic material (DNA) alterations (i.e., mutations) provide the host cell (pre-cancerous cells) with an uncontrolled growth advantage. Identification of such genetic alteration has been proven to be instrumental in guiding diagnostic strategy and cancer cell-target therapy. Recently, it has been found that 70% of progressive gliomas have the IDH 1 or IDH 2 gene mutations, providing characteristics that set glioma cancer cells apart from normal cells both genetically and clinically. These mutations present a unique opportunity for novel biomarker discoveries and targeted therapies.
Dr. Yan’s approach to target a newly identified glioma oncogene and its involved metabolic pathway is innovative. The research will lay the groundwork for better understanding of these novel glioma genes, but also may result in developing better glioma biomarker and a novel, personalized, targeted therapy. The results derived from this study have the potential to lead to a greater understanding of cancer metabolism, which may yield clues to targeting other cancers as well, including acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and chondrosarcoma patients whose tumors contain frequent IDH1/2 mutations.