Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida-January 16, 2019 – The Brain Tumor Funders’ Collaborative (BTFC) – six private funders of brain tumor research – today announced $3 million in grants to four multi-institutional teams of researchers and clinicians studying immunotherapy in primary brain tumors

“The Sontag Foundation believes the strength of funders and researchers working collaboratively will improve outcomes for brain tumor patients,” said Kay W. Verble, Executive Director, The Sontag Foundation, one of BTFC’s partners.  “Through each funder’s individual grant making and this collaborative initiative, researchers will expand knowledge regarding the causes and failures of immunotherapy in the setting of the human brain.”

The four funded projects will examine vaccination strategies, the tumor’s micro-environment, anti-tumor T-cells, and personalized immunotherapy approaches. They were selected during a multi-stage review process from more than 79 responses to the BTFC call for proposals.

The following institutions will be receiving $750,000 BTFC grants over the next three years:

  1. Project Sponsor: David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Project Manager:  Robert Prins, Project Title: Active vaccination and the timing of checkpoint blockade dictate effective immunotherapy for glioblastoma.
  2. Project Sponsor: McGill University, Project Manager:  Daniela Quail, Project Title: Harnessing the brain tumor immune-microenvironment to enhance therapeutic efficacy.
  3. Project Sponsor: UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, Project Manager:  Gary Kohanbash Project Title: Interrogating anti-tumor T-cells to develop adoptive cell transfer (ACT) immunotherapy for pediatric high-grade gliomas.
  4. Sponsoring Institution: University of California, San Francisco, Project Manager:  Joseph Costello, Project Title: Three dimensional immuno-genomics approach to personalized neoantigen-based immunotherapy.

The Brain Tumor Funders’ Collaborative was formed by private foundations and non-profit organizations to pool their resources and become more strategic by focusing their research dollars toward specific therapeutic goals. The BTFC organizations combine this research funding with patient education and advocacy.

Note: The following organizations participate in the BTFC and in this joint funding initiative:

  • American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA)
  • Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada
  • James S. McDonnell Foundation
  • Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation
  • The Sontag Foundation
  • Anonymous

Further information about the BTFC and its funding initiative can be found at www.braintumorfunders.org.

Brain tumor facts are available at https://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/brain.html and http://www.cbtrus.org/factsheet/factsheet.html.