Van Andel Research Institute joins brain cancer genetics consortium

By: Deborah Johnson Wood

One patient with a brain tumor receives pretty much the same medical treatment as another patient with a brain tumor. That's because physicians don’t have the tools to personalize treatment based on the genetic makeup of the tumor. Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) wants to change that.

VARI has joined a new consortium of nine top U.S. medical and research institutions to determine how brain tumors with different genetic features respond to different treatments. The goal of the research, the Ivy Genomics-Based Medicine Project, is to provide physicians with tools that will enable them to provide the most effective treatment for each patient on an individual basis.

A $3 million grant from the Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation will fund the two-stage project, which the Translational Genomics Research Institute (T-Gen) will coordinate and manage over the next four to five years. The project includes clinical trials for persons with recurrent brain tumors.

“Researchers will be able to compare results across institutions on a diverse set of tumors and treatment regimen response patterns,” says Michael Berens, Ph.D., who is the project leader from T-Gen. “The size, scope and potential impact this project will have for patients with brain cancer is simply huge.”

“In 2007, VARI established the Compassionate Care Protocol to gather and analyze molecular data on tumors from local patients with a wide variety of cancers and identify potential combinations of drugs on a patient-by-patient basis and disease-by-disease basis,” says Craig Webb, M.D., VARI spokesperson. “Through the Ivy G.B.M. project we can take our research and concepts to the next level in a focused disease and explore the potential of this treatment strategy on a national scale.”

Source: Van Andel Research Institute

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Deborah Johnson Wood is the development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at [email protected].

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