Collaborative University of Cincinnati Cancer Center Team Opens Phase 2 Brain Tumor Trial

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UC’s Brain Tumor Center provided direct support for the completion of the Phase 0/1 trial and some of the correlative mechanistic studies that will continue during the Phase 2 trials using funds raised in the annual Walk Ahead for a Brain Tumor Discoveries fundraiser. 

The Falk Catalyst Award provides up to $350,000 in seed funding to support translational research projects, which the researchers said was crucial in opening the new trial.  

“Oftentimes the funding is somewhat limited for initial clinical trial development compared to many other more early-stage studies that you can do,” Desai said. “So that gap is filled by foundations like the Falk Medical Research Trust, and that really is very helpful and plays a critical role in accelerating clinical development.”

“It would not be possible if we didn’t have the funding to be able to bring this combination into patients that desperately need new treatment options,” Wise-Draper said.  

As the clinical trial progresses, the team is also collaborating to find other drugs to combine with letrozole to treat GBMs, funded by a $1.19 million National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke grant. The team is already preparing a proposal for larger confirmatory Phase 2 studies and expanding the opportunities for cutting-edge brain tumor clinical trials in Cincinnati.

Desai said the ongoing research includes additional collaboration from experts including David Plas, PhD, Biplab DasGupta, PhD, and Tim Phoenix, PhD (molecular/cancer biology); Gary Gudelsky, PhD (neuro-pharmacology) Rekha Chaudhary, MD, and Lalanthica Yogendran, MD (neuro-oncology); Mario Medvedovic, PhD (bioinformatics and genomics); and Shesh Rai, PhD (biostatistics). Many graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and the clinical trials support staff also provide essential support for the project.   

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