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Children’s Tumor Foundation Funds Five New Neurofibromatosis Drug Discovery Initiative Awards

The Children’s Tumor Foundation (CTF) is delighted to announce the funding of five new Drug Discovery Initiative (DDI) Awards totaling $125,000, from applications received for our spring 2011 deadline. DDI Awards fund studies to test candidate neurofibromatosis (NF) drugs for NF1, NF2 or schwannomatosis, offering $15,000 for in vitro cell-based screens, up to $30,000 for in vivo animal model screens and up to $50,000 to continue outstanding in vivo research projects.  Launched in 2006, it is one of CTF’s most successful programs.

The Spring 2001 DDI Awards are as follows:

Cristina Fernadez-Valle, Ph.D., University of Central Florida – $15,000
In vitro DDI Award to screen a small molecule drug library on NF2 Schwannoma Cells

Jan Friedman, MD, Ph.D., University of British Columbia – $15,000
In vitro DDI Award to test cytokine inhibitors for the treatment of NF1 Vasculopathy

Xu Wu, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School/ Massachusetts General Hospital – $15,000
In Vitro DDI Award to Test Small Molecule Library of Inhibitors of YAP Nuclear Localization in NF2 Schwannoma, Astrocytoma, Meningioma Cells

David Largaesapada, Ph.D., University of Minnesota – $30,000*
In vivo DDI Award to test of drug combinations for NF1 Plexiform Neurofibroma and MPNST (builds on previous DDI Award of $15,000)

David Wiemer, Ph.D., University of Iowa – $50,000
Advanced DDI Award to optimize Schweinfurthins for NF1 Astrocytoma (builds on previous DDI Award of $30,000)

*Dr. Largaespada’s Award is funded by the Texas Neurofibromatosis Foundation through CTF.

Since its launch in 2006 DDI has funded 44 projects – around 10 per year – of up to $50,000 per Award, totaling a CTF research investment of just over $1 million. DDI studies up to 1 year to complete.  To date, 27 concluded DDI studies have shown promising results and have been successful in securing $4.7M in follow-on funding (to continue building on the CTF-funded research) including government, industry, state and institutional grants. 19 scientific publications have emerged from DDI research, and 19 projects have included collaborations with biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies.  And all of these numbers continue to grow.

DDI forms the backbone of the Children’s Tumor Foundation-funded NF candidate drug pipeline. Through DDI, the NF Preclinical Consortium, and the Clinical Trials Award program the Foundation is currently supporting drug testing bench-to-bedside from cell-based assays in vitro to pilot clinical trials.

The next deadline for DDI Award apps is August 31st and info can be found here.