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Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation Boosts Research Funding by $8 Million

ASHEVILLE, NC – The Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation (PBTF), its headquarters located in Asheville, increased its medical research funding commitments by $8.35 million in 2008.

The grants consist of an additional $6 million to the PBTF Institute at Duke University; $1 million to the PBTF Institute at the University of California San Francisco and $1 million to PBTF Institute at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada; $250,000 to Dr. Gregory Shackleford at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles; and $100,000 to Dr. Yuri Tabori at the Hospital for Sick Children.

The PBTF’s research institute program concluded its sixth year of funding in 2008. Overall, the foundation has funded more than 50 research institutions in the United States and other countries.

"Our grants focus on basic and translational research in an effort to improve outcomes for children with brain tumors," says Dianne Traynor, Director of Research Funding and Advocacy at the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. "We seek out research institutions with strong basic, translational and clinical brain tumor research programs as well as large pediatric brain tumor patient populations. The types of pediatric brain tumors being studied at PBTF Institutes range from highly malignant gliomas and medulloblastomas to low grade tumors. Our goal is to develop strong collaborative research efforts between the PBTF Institutes that will fast forward discoveries for this patient population."

Dr. Darell Bigner, director of the PBTF Institute at Duke, is working steadily toward that goal. "The PBTF Institute program has been a major contributor to the advancement of the body of knowledge in the causation and treatment of pediatric brain tumors," Bigner says. "It has been invaluable as a mechanism for bringing together the most outstanding investigators in the field of pediatric neuro-oncology."

The director of the PBTF Institute at the University of California San Francisco agrees. "The beauty, and thus the significance, of this award is that it encourages us dsto not only collaborate among ourselves to push the limits of discovery, but to work with other groups funded by the PBTF to enhance our research productivity," says Dr. Mitch Berger.

And that productivity is leading to results. For example, notes Dr. James Rutka of Sick Kids, "PBTF funding for our research program on novel genetic approaches to medulloblastoma has enabled us to probe [that] genome using ultra high-resolution molecular techniques. It is probably fair to say that we have now catalogued the major genetic alterations that are found in medulloblastoma in over 500 different pediatric brain tumors, the largest single collection of medulloblastomas in the world."

You can visit the PBTF at www.pbtfus.org.

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