We awarded 3 more exciting brain tumor research grants today!
The first grant is to help fund a phase 1 trial of a new drug for Glioblastomas (and eventually other brain tumors). It targets Olig2 which is a transcription factor that is used in early brain development then turns off when the brain matures and it is no longer needed. In brain cancers, Oligo2 is turned back on in cancer stem cells and causes the initiation of tumors as well as driving tumor growth, promoting resistance to radiation and chemotherapy and drives invasion into the healthy brain. The theory is that this new experimental drug, CT-179, can inhibit Olig2, and hopefully lead to significantly improved outcomes. It is an oral drug that crosses the blood brain barrier and early lab work was impressive.
The next grant is to help fund a learning health system for brain cancer. xCures created an amazing system that we use for our patient navigation program. It combines artificial intelligence with expert opinions, tumor boards, a regulatory grade registry as well as medical literature to create the learning system. The goal of the learning system is to find the best treatment options for each patient, and to accelerate the development of promising therapies and combinations of therapies. Our grant will help them analyze the effectiveness of the process and improve it. Disclaimer: I own stock in and am a paid consultant to xCures and recused myself from evaluating this grant application. Our entire medical advisory board as well as executive board approved this grant which covers only a small part of the project. We will raise more money for it in the future.
The third grant was to the DIPG / DMG collaborative. We are a foundational partner of the collaborative and I am on their grants committee, so I have a say where our funds go. They have about 24 partner organizations who each chip in money that we use to fund much larger grants than we could each do alone. They have given out a total of over $13 million in grants so far! Although they are limited funding research for pediatric DIPG and Diffuse Midline Gliomas, most of it will also apply to most other adult malignant brain tumors.
This makes a total of 10 brain tumor research grants totaling $405,000 that we (the Musella Foundation) gave out for 2022! We are close to matching last year's total of $427,000, but not yet close to the pre-covid $625,000 we awarded in 2018. Our annual fundraisers have each not done as well as pre-covid yet but we are adding a lot of smaller events. One of our volunteers is hosting a fishing fundraiser on Long Island July 9-17, 2022, in memory of his son, Michael Vincent Clapps, who died of a glioblastoma. For details or to donate - go to https://virtualtrials.org/Claps Please consider hosting a fundraiser for us so we can give out more grants! We have one more very special grant that we approved but are waiting to save up the funds to pay it! And we get frequent requests for more grants - which we have been turning down for now until we can build up our grants fund again.