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Mayo Clinic Cancer Center receives SPORE grant for brain cancer research from NCI

ROCHESTER, Minn. -- Mayo Clinic Cancer Center has received a Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for brain cancer research.

The SPORE grant will provide $10.8 million to Mayo Clinic to support research geared toward significantly reducing brain cancer deaths and disabilities. Mayo Clinic neurologist Brian O'Neill, M.D., is the overall principal investigator for the SPORE. Dr. O'Neill and Robert Jenkins, M.D., Ph.D., co-principal investigator and Mayo Clinic geneticist, will lead a team of 12 basic, clinical and population science investigators at Mayo.

This team will conduct four Mayo investigator-initiated research projects that focus on adult gliomas, the most common form of tumors that originate in the brain or spinal cord tissue rather than those that spread to the brain from other areas of the body.

"Adult gliomas can have a disproportionately greater effect on a person's quality of life than more common cancers because they can significantly disable cognitive, memory, language, mobility and problem-solving skills," says Dr. O'Neill. "Despite nearly three decades of intense research and clinical trials, current treatments do not increase cure rates for this type of cancer, and the quality of such survival is often poor because of the well-documented toxicity of standard therapy. Clearly more effective and less toxic regimens are needed."

Over the next five years, research activities may also extend to gliomas of children and adolescents, as brain tumors are currently the most common cause of cancer deaths in those age groups. All four SPORE projects are based on research generated by investigators at the three Mayo Clinic campuses in Rochester, Minn., Scottsdale, Ariz., and Jacksonville, Fla. The projects will include both clinical studies involving patients and translational research activities.

All projects and the core activities that support them will be i
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