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Consortium of international hospitals receives $11 million to conduct study of genetic brain tumors

HOUSTON - The National Cancer Institute recently awarded The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center an $11 million grant to lead the largest genetic study ever conducted on the causes and risk factors of adult and pediatric gliomas, or malignant, primary brain tumors.

Melissa Bondy, Ph.D., professor of epidemiology at M. D. Anderson and director of the Childhood Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Center - a joint effort among M. D. Anderson, Texas Children's Cancer Center at Texas Children's Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine - is principal investigator of the "Gliogene" study. This study will incorporate the combined research of an international consortium of brain tumor specialists, who will examine DNA of families with multiple brain tumors in the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark and Israel. Beatrice Malmer, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor at Umea University Hospital in Umea, Sweden, is the coordinating principal investigator of the study's European and Israeli collaborating institutions.

By identifying potential genetic predictors of hereditary gliomas, researchers hope to uncover important genetic information that may lead to improved treatment and prevention strategies.

Although only five percent of all brain tumors are inherited, this area of research is relatively neglected, but vital, for affected patients, said Bondy, who serves on the faculty of both M. D. Anderson and Baylor. Study leaders aim to screen approximately 15,000 individuals during the five-year study, in order to recruit approximately 400 families eligible for DNA analysis.

"Because so few researchers are tackling the mystery of brain tumor development, the collaboration of these excellent researchers is very important," said Bondy. "Brain tumor research is extremely challenging, yet rewarding, because any progress in this field translates into significant results down the road."

In addition to the grant fro
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Contact: Claire Tyson
ctyson@mdanderson.org
713-794-1731
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
4-Dec-2006


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