Neil Peart Neurosurgery Research Award to Expand

Glioblastoma Foundation is proud to announce the expansion of the Neil Peart Neurosurgery Resident Research Award! Started in 2020 in honor of legendary Rush drummer Neil Peart, the first Award was granted to Dr. Zachary Gersey of the University of Pittsburgh. In 2021, in honor of our five-year anniversary, Glioblastoma Foundation is expanding this award to seven Neurosurgery Residents conducting leading-edge research around the country!

Neil Peart is remembered as the legendary drummer and lyricist from the band Rush. He is recognized as one of the greatest musicians and drummers of all time and was inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame with his bandmates, Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, in 2013.  As one Rush fan said, "The Professor gave 100% to everything he did." The seven Neil Peart Neurosurgery Resident Research Award recipients are doing the same in the field of glioblastoma. Together, this cohort will lead us to a cure and transform therapy for glioblastoma.

From Dr. Zachary Gersey's continuing research on how organoids can be used to reveal the key molecular mechanisms that drive glioblastoma tumor initiation and growth, to Dr. Swetha Sundar's proposed work to determine how different glioblastoma cell populations respond to drugs, the Glioblastoma Foundation is leading the way in funding translational research that can be implemented to extend patient survival.  Leading our research mission is a talented group of individuals that serves on our Scientific Advisory Board and identifies all research opportunities.

The Neil Peart Neurosurgery Resident Research Award is intended to identify and cultivate the Neurosurgeons of tomorrow that will be leaders in the field of glioblastoma research. The recipients of the Glioblastoma Foundation's Neil Peart Neurosurgery Resident Research Award are doing the work today that will get us to a cure tomorrow. Dr. Zachary Gersey was the first recipient of this award in 2020. Under the direction of Dr. Pascal Zinn at the University of Pittsburgh, both doctors are placing a strong focus on tailoring therapy for each individual glioblastoma patient and moving toward personalized tumor treatment and patient care.

Dr. Kristin Huntoon is another recipient of this year's Neil Peart Neurosurgery Resident Research Award. At MD Anderson Cancer Center, Dr. Huntoon is working on a protein mimic of IL-2 to promote anti-tumor responses and improved infiltration of T cells into tumors. This study marks the Glioblastoma Foundation's first foray into supporting immunotherapy for glioblastoma. Historically, immunotherapy has faced many challenges in being effective for glioblastoma. To date, it is estimated that immunotherapy only works for 10% of glioblastoma patients.  Dr. Huntoon's work on developing an IL-2 mimic, if successful, can be paired well with existing therapies for glioblastoma to extend survival for some glioblastoma patients.

At the University of California, Dr. Jacob Young is using new CRISPR technology to study genes that contribute to immunotherapy resistance in glioblastoma and at Yale New Haven Hospital, Dr. Yekula is working to develop a liquid biopsy to be used for diagnosis and monitoring the effectiveness of glioblastoma therapy. Dr. Yekula was previously a member of the team that developed a liquid biopsy at Mass General Hospital. He is now working on validating this method and its predictive value.

Dr. Swetha Sundar is developing glioblastoma organoids to test the effectiveness of drugs and combination drug therapy for treating some glioblastomas. She is examining how different glioblastoma cell populations respond to different drugs - an endeavor that aligns with the Glioblastoma Foundation's focus on preclinical models and drug testing for personalized glioblastoma therapy.

The Glioblastoma Foundation is proud to support the compelling research of these rising stars that will lead us to a cure and will result in the fastest translation to the bedside and the clinic for patients.

Thank you to our donors, supporters, and collaborators for allowing us to do the work we are so passionate about. In the immortal words of Neil Peart, the Professor, "A spirit with a vision is a dream with a mission." We invite you to get involved.  To make a donation to the Glioblastoma Foundation in memory of Neil and in support of the Neil Peart Neurosurgery Resident Research Award, please visit this link. If you would like to participate in the Glioblastoma Foundation's 2112 Fundraiser in memory of Neil Peart, please visit this link. Together we can transform glioblastoma into a manageable, chronic condition.

©2021 Glioblastoma Foundation. All rights reserved.

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