$1M Donation to Support Feinstein Institute's New Brain Tumor Biotech Center

MANHASSET, N.Y., Sept. 29, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research has established the world's first Brain Tumor Biotech Center that will bring together scientists, clinicians and biotech companies to accelerate the delivery of novel drugs for treating the deadly cancer. To support the Feinstein Institute's efforts, Voices Against Brain Cancer this week made a $1 million donation to kick-start the new center.

"We are very thankful to Voices Against Brain Cancer and their generous support," said John A. Boockvar, MD, investigator in the Laboratory for Brain Tumor Biology and Therapy at the Feinstein Institute, director of the Brain Tumor Center at Lenox Hill Hospital, and professor of neurosurgery at the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine. "This support will help expedite the discovery and delivery of novel drugs and therapeutics to patients living with brain cancer."

Dr. Boockvar, who was recruited earlier this year from Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center in Manhattan, is co-director of the Feinstein Institute's new Brain Tumor Biotech Center with Marc Symons, PhD, an investigator and director of the Feinstein Institute's Light Microscopy Facility, and professor of molecular medicine and neurosurgery at the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine.

More than 200,000 Americans are diagnosed with brain tumors every year. Treating brain cancer through surgery, chemotherapy, radiation or a combination of those methods is often complicated by the fact that there are more than 120 types of brain tumors. Some forms of brain cancer spread far into normal brain tissue and are very resistant to current therapies, posing a major challenge to successful treatment. Eliminating all brain tumor cells through surgery without adversely impacting a person's function is very difficult. Chemotherapy has limited benefits in shrinking tumors because the brain is protected from foreign substances circulating in the blood Radio-therapy is a standard therapy for brain tumors, but tumors often become resistant to radiation. In addition, radio-therapy has many side effects, especially in children.

"The treatment of brain tumors is an extremely challenging endeavor," said Dr. Symons. "This new center is unique in its capabilities of speeding up new treatment developments."

Through the Feinstein Institute's new Brain Tumor Biotech Center, researchers are hoping for greater advancements in drug development, saying it will serve as an interactive hub for scientists, clinicians and biotech companies studying neuro-oncology. Leveraging the Feinstein Institute's expertise, the Brain Tumor Biotech Center will partner with biotechnology companies as they complete preclinical testing, navigate the regulatory landscape and execute on clinical development initiatives. Researchers will have the added benefit of being able to interface with the North Shore-LIJ Health System's vast patient population and access other resources needed to pursue new, effective treatments.

The $1 million gift from Voices Against Brain Cancer, to be distributed over five years, will establish a venture fund to be used entirely for supporting activities within the Brain Tumor Biotech Center. "We're doing this because we see this being the fast track to providing relief to our patients and their families, and really taking on this terrible disease," said Michael Klipper, chairman of Voices Against Brain Cancer.

About The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research

Headquartered in Manhasset, NY, The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research is home to international scientific leaders in many areas including Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, psychiatric disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, sepsis, human genetics, pulmonary hypertension, leukemia, neuroimmunology, and medicinal chemistry. The Feinstein Institute, part of the North Shore-LIJ Health System, ranks in the top 6th percentile of all National Institutes of Health grants awarded to research centers.


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