Thursday, December 3, 2015

Hope for Brain Cancer Patients: Global Adaptive Clinical Trials

I often write about how “we are all in this together”.  Though I’m a lung cancer survivor, I am a passionate advocate for cancer research for all different types of cancer. And as we are learning, precision medicine is more about identifying the genetic abnormalities that cause cancer, and less about where the cancer presents itself.  And so it was an honor to attend the recent press conference and reception announcing a broad coalition of Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) neurosurgeons, neuro-oncologists, basic and clinical investigators and representatives from GBM advocacy communities, including the National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR), who gathered at the National Press Club today to announce “GBM AGILE,” a next-generation clinical trial for brain cancer.
This year approximately 12,000 adults in the United States and tens of thousands more around the globe will receive a diagnosis of GBM, the most aggressive and deadliest form of brain tumor. These patients face a devastating reality: Less than two percent will survive longer than five years after that diagnosis. GBM took the lives of Sen. Ted Kennedy and more recently, Beau Biden. 
At the #GBMAGILE reception, it was an honor to meet and visit with Vice President Joe Biden. The Vice President was there to show his support and commitment to cancer research.  His family was there, and he spoke eloquently about the compassionate care his son Beau received from NFCR support cancer researcher Dr. Al Yung, at MD Anderson.  The sincere affection for Dr. Yung was clear.
This type of global initiative is exciting, and I’m proud NFCR is a part of it. The global adaptive trial will be spearheaded by this newly formed coalition, #GBMAGILE, which plans to enroll patients by mid-2016. The coalition is truly global, with over 150 participants from more than 40 leading cancer institutions across four continents.