Late U.S. Senators John McCain and Edward Kennedy, along with former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Beau, all died from an aggressive brain cancer called glioblastoma.
Now, Beaumont radiation oncologist Dr. Prakash Chinnaiyan, an expert in the treatment of brain and spine cancer, has been awarded a five-year, $1.6 million National Institutes of Health grant to study metabolic reprogramming in glioblastoma.
“Cancer cells require specific nutrients to thrive and grow,” explained Dr. Chinnaiyan, also a professor at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine. “The goal of our research is to identify what nutrients glioblastoma cells need to live, understand why they utilize these nutrients and determine if these metabolic pathways can be disrupted. This understanding can lead to new treatments.”
Based on a decade of work, this lab-based study will take place at the Beaumont Research Institute in Royal Oak.
Glioblastoma is the most common form of brain cancer in adults. According to Dr. Chinnaiyan, the median survival rate is less than two years with limited treatment options. The standard of care includes surgery to remove as much of the tumor as is possible, followed by radiation and chemotherapy. It is uncommon for most diagnosed with glioblastoma to live longer than five years. Each year about 15,000 Americans die from glioblastoma.
This is Dr. Chinnaiyan’s second NIH research grant studying glioblastoma. He has also received funding from the Department of Defense and the American Cancer Society.
“The NIH funding will allow our research team to continue this promising work for the next five years,” said Dr. Chinnaiyan. “We are hopeful our findings will lead to new treatments for patients diagnosed with glioblastoma.”