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  • Posted Wednesday November 29, 2023

TGen Announces Fellowship Program in Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM)

2-year fellowship to focus on research improving longevity and quality of life for GBM patients

PHOENIX, AZ — The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), part of City of Hope, today announced the establishment of a fellowship in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) research. The Lori Lane/Andrew Spyrow Fellowship honors the lives of Lori Lane and Andrew Spyrow who fought GBM bravely, teaching all of us to experience the joy of life and dedicating their journey to the advancement of treatment improving the quality and longevity of life for those facing this devastating cancer.

Glioma, a malignant brain tumor, ranks as one of the most lethal types of human cancer. Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM), with an average survival rate of 14-20 months, stands out as the deadliest form of gliomas and continues to pose a significant challenge in cancer treatment.

Through the generosity of Chris and Florence Spyrow of Flagstaff, AZ, and Shawn Lane and the Lori Lane Foundation, Scottsdale/Flagstaff, AZ, the 2-year, $280,000 fellowship will focus on two areas of research that could have a dramatic impact for those diagnosed with GBM.

The first area of research focuses on bringing new drugs to GBM clinical trials for FDA approval more quickly (there have been no new drugs combating GBM for the past 25 years). The second area involves developing a test that will quickly identify whether a therapy is reaching the GBM tumor, thereby eliminating the need to wait for months for MRI results. If successful, these advances would enable physicians to replace ineffective drugs in a timely manner, with a range of targeted therapies, to which these tumors respond, extending life and reducing adverse effects.

“The Lori Lane/Andrew Spyrow Fellowship serves as a meaningful tribute to Lori and Andrew who bravely battled GBM, inspiring us to expand our efforts to extend the life of current and future GBM patients,” said Michael Berens, Ph.D., professor and director of TGen’s Cancer and Cell Biology Division and head of the Glioma Research Lab, who will mentor the Fellow. “This gift will empower TGen to attract exceptional trainees who can leverage our scientific and innovative resources to positively impact the clinical care of GBM patients.”

Previous studies on GBM genomes have found changes linked to how tumor cells grow and survive. But so far, these findings have not improved standard treatments, which are still mostly about removing as much of the tumor as possible with surgery, followed by radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or more recently, the Optune device.

The Fellow, in collaboration with Dr. Berens, will work to bring new drugs to clinical trial by improving our understanding of the molecular markers that make patients vulnerable to new drugs. They will also work to develop a blood test that will timely identify if a new treatment is reaching a patient’s tumor.

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About TGen, part of City of Hope
Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a Phoenix, Arizona-based nonprofit organization dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research with life-changing results. TGen is part of City of Hope, a world-renowned independent research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases. This precision medicine affiliation enables both institutes to complement each other in research and patient care, with City of Hope providing a significant clinical setting to advance scientific discoveries made by TGen. TGen is focused on helping patients with neurological disorders, cancer, diabetes and infectious diseases through cutting-edge translational research (the process of rapidly moving research toward patient benefit). TGen physicians and scientists work to unravel the genetic components of both common and complex rare diseases in adults and children. Working with collaborators in the scientific and medical communities worldwide, TGen makes a substantial contribution to help patients through efficiency and effectiveness of the translational process. Follow TGen on FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter.

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