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Genetic Brain Tumor Study Gets $11 Million NCI Grant

Genetic Brain Tumor Study Gets $11 Million NCI Grant

HOUSTON—The National Cancer Institute (NCI) recently awarded The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center $11 million to lead the largest genetic study ever conducted on the causes and risk factors of adult and pediatric gliomas. Melissa Bondy, PhD, professor of epidemiology and director of the Childhood Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Center, is principal investigators of the "Gliogene" study.

The 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, United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark, and Israel. Beatrice Malmer, MD, PhD, 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, the researchers hope to uncover important genetic information that may lead to improved treatment and prevention strategies for gliomas.

Although only 5% of all brain tumors are inherited, this area of research is relatively neglected, Ms. Bondy said. Study leaders aim to screen approximately 15,000 individuals during the 5-year study, in order to recruit approximately 400 families eligible for DNA analysis.

In addition to the NCI grant, the American Brain Tumor Association has provided funds to support the genetic analysis, which will be carried out in North America by Ching Lau, MD, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine and a researcher at the Texas Children's Cancer Center.

The genetic analysis of patients in Europe and Israel will be conducted at the Institute of Cancer Research in the United Kingdom. Eligible families must have two or more biologically related members who have been diagnosed with a primary brain tumor. Individuals who participate will be asked to complete a 45-minute family history and risk factor interview over the phone and to provide a small blood sample.

The Gliogene study website is found at http://braintumor.epigenetic.org.

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