The University of California San Francisco has been named one of nine academic research medical centers to form the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The network is intended to speed the development of innovative, technically challenging therapies for children with brain malignancies.
The NCI will provide $2 million a year for five years to fund the consortium as the nine centers work together to conceive, develop and carry out pilot studies and early trials of promising new therapies.
While childhood brain tumors are rare, they have surpassed acute lymphoblastic leukemia as the most common cause of cancer deaths among children. And while approximately 60 percent of children with brain tumors survive at least five years, this figure has improved only slightly in the past quarter-century.
However, new treatment possibilities are emerging for childhood brain tumors, said NCI director Richard Klausner, MD. "The Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium will be able to take advantage of these opportunities and by rapidly identifying and evaluating novel treatments, expedite progress toward our ultimate goal, which is improved outcomes for children with brain malignancies," Klausner said.
Neuro-oncologist Michael Prados, MD is principal investigator of the consortium site at UCSF; he also leads the NCI's North American Brain Tumor Consortium, a group of eight centers that for six years has been exploring innovative therapies for adults with brain tumors. "The lesson we've learned from that experience is that we can bring together multidisciplinary teams in institutions of excellence with a common interest in developing strategies to cure brain tumors," Prados said.
"Within this consortium are representatives of all the disciplines that are
important in conducting this type of research, all tightly focused and all very
committed to the idea that we need to do better in treatment of pediatric brain
Contact: Janet Basu
University of California - San Francisco