On January 7th, 2013, the foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) reviewed the Dana Farber Cancer Institute’s PLGA Research program and offered insight with respect to progress and future directions. Drs. Mark Kieran and Chuck Stiles, along with a dozen principal investigators working on children’s brain tumor research, presented their findings.  In summary, since the inception of the PLGA Research Program, the research findings have resulted in the publication of 322 scientific papers, and 1 out of every 10 in the most prestigious scientific journals, including Cell, Science or Nature. In addition, a PIVOTAL component for the program was the NCI’s $8.5 million grant – the ONLY PO1 grant dedicated to pediatric low grade glioma research in the country.

Landmark projects for the program have resulted in the development of a solid infrastructure for collecting and analyzing tumor specimens, including a robust international tissue bank.  Combined with the efforts in the drug evaluation and development area, the PLGA Research Program has kicked off 3 national clinical trials…more clinical trials for this disease than EVER before.

The SAB also reviewed project progress for A Kids’ Brain Tumor Foundation’s grants awarded to other national and international institutions.  They noted that the complimentary nature of these projects and the open dialogue between institutions, has significantly accelerated the progress that has been made in the field in a very short time frame.

In May 2008, co-directors of the PLGA Research Program, Dr. Chuck Stiles and Dr. Mark Kieran, spent a few hours with a number of PLGA families for a round table discussion about the strategy of the PLGA Research Program.

2009 Grant Progress

The PLGA Foundation approved the newest grant to the PLGA Program at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute on November 30th, 2009. The grant funding will help to establish a new Pathology Research Scientist position, which will expand the program’s research enterprise by focusing on important projects such as acquisition and genetic characterization of LGA tumor samples. The foundation is very pleased to support this position from January 2010 through December 2012. In addition to this grant, the PLGA Foundation has directed further funding to the PLGA Program’s wide array of research and clinical initiatives through the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge, the Boston Marathon(r) Jimmy Fund Walk, and other events.

According Dr. Chuck Stiles, “We are grateful to the PLGA Foundation for their continued, generous support of our research program. Funding provided by the foundation is absolutely critical for sustaining our efforts to identify novel genetic mutations in pediatric LGAs. It’s these mutations that will serve as targets for a new generation of smart drugs for these tumors.”

Dr. Mark Kieran comments, “The support of the PLGA Foundation is enabling us to decipher the biology of LGAs. New foundation funds will allow us to translate our research findings into clinical tests that can be used to test patient tumors. Our ability to test for tumor mutations to stratify patients will be essential for the next generation of targeted-drug clinical trials.”

Dr. Edward Benz, President, DFCI endorses the PLGA Foundation’s commitment to the DFCI’s PLGA Research Program in a short letter and comments, “Since empowering our institution with the inspiration, drive and funding that helped us to establish the PLGA Program in 2007, your foundation members have worked tirelessly alongside the program’s researchers and clinicians to help expand their groundbreaking efforts….On behalf of the DFCI and especially the many patients and families who stand to benefit from the findings made possible by your generosity, we sincerely appreciate your compassion and partnership in the fight against pediatric low-grade astrocytoma.”

In addition, a second, multi-year grant was approved to establish a full time Research Assistant position to support important scientific, regulatory and clinical projects involving international tissue acquisition as well as national and international collaboration of the LGA tissue registry.

Dr. Edward Benz, President, DFCI, comments in a recent letter to the foundation, “The PLGA Foundation’s support has been nothing short of essential to our PLGA Program, and we remain tremendously grateful for your leadership and vision in the fight against this devastating disease.”

PLGA Research Program Established at DFCI

In May 2007, the establishment of the first dedicated PLGA research program at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. The initial $2 million grant will concentrate resources on research on pediatric low-grade brain tumors, in order to discover new and improved targeted therapies that don’t risk impairing children’s bodies and minds. This is believed to be the first coordinated research effort committed to this specific type of brain tumor world-wide. Read more…

Projects include: