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National Brain Tumor Society, Yale Cancer Center Researching DNA Damage Response in Brain Cancers

NEW YORK – The National Brain Tumor Society and Yale Cancer Center on Tuesday began a research initiative to develop treatments targeting DNA damage response in brain tumors.

The newly launched initiative, called the DNA Damage Response (DDR) Consortium, will research the pathways involved in repairing broken DNA and how DNA repair vulnerabilities can be therapeutically targeted in adult and pediatric glioma brain tumors, including glioblastoma, oligodendroglioma, astrocytoma, and ependymoma. The consortium will work with biotech companies to develop compounds that exploit DNA damage response mechanisms.

"Our DDR Consortium will rapidly test different drugs against laboratory models and then bring the most promising ones forward to evaluate in early phase clinical trials with the goal of advancing towards regulatory review and ultimately to the market as new treatments for brain tumor patients," Kirk Tanner, CSO of the National Brain Tumor Society, said in a statement.

PARP inhibitors, which cause single-stranded DNA breaks, have shown to work particularly well in breast, ovarian, and prostate cancers that are already genomically deficient in repairing DNA. "By rapidly conducting drug qualification and moving forward to clinical trials, we're providing patients more opportunities, leveraging a treatment modality that is already showing effectiveness in other cancers," Tanner added.

The research will be led by Ranjit Bindra, scientific director of the Chênevert Family Brain Tumor Center at Smilow Cancer Hospital and Yale Cancer Center. The consortium is also finalizing contracts with other research partners and will announce these collaborations soon.

The consortium is being supported by more than $1 million in funding from National Brain Tumor Society donors, including brain cancer research nonprofit StacheStrong. The initiative plans to raise additional funding in the future.