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The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke

Posted on 05/02/08, 09:33 am
Our Mission
To cure brain and spinal tumors
To translate scientific advances in our research laboratories to state-of-the-art treatments for the patient
To provide the resources and support necessary for patients and their families to meet the challenges of living with a brain tumor
--------------------------------------------------------------------------Our History
The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke was established in 1937, as one of the first brain tumor research and clinical programs in the United States. Since then, the Center has advanced to become one of the leading pediatric and adult neuro-oncology programs in the worldâ??leading the way in comprehensive care with a unique combination of research breakthroughs, clinical trials, and the newest therapies. At the core of the Centerâ??s success lies the commitment of countless physicians, nurses, researchers, and staffâ??all with the collective goal of caring for our patients and their families, improving the quality of everyday life, and ultimately finding a cure for our patients, who share the most personal investment in our triumphs. As we build upon seven decades of history to serve our patients and families, they in turn serve as the very testament to the worthiness of our cause. They are the reason we strive to deliver hope every day and in the years to come.
History | Timeline
The history of neuro-oncology at Duke spans virtually the entire history of the institution, beginning with the arrival of Barnes Woodhall, MD, from Johns Hopkins University in 1937. Upon his return from World War II, Dr. Woodhall was one of the first physicians to use chemotherapy for brain tumors in the early 1950s. Serving as chief of neurosurgery and later as dean of the Duke University School of Medicine, Dr. Woodhall was a major force in the development of the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center, Dukeâ??s neuro-oncology program, and the construction of the Cancer Center Isolation Facility.

Soon after Dr. Woodhallâ??s arrival, Guy Odom, MD, James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of Neurosurgery, arrived at Duke in 1943. He established the first neuropathology tumor laboratory and the brain tumor clinic, which is one of the oldest multidisciplinary clinics for cancer in the medical center. Drs. Odom and Woodhall were founding members of the National Brain Tumor Study Group and provided crucial leadership to Dukeâ??s neuro-oncology program during its formative stage.

Dr. Woodhall becomes one of the first physicians to use chemotherapy for brain tumors.

The results of a Duke study on pediatric brain tumor patients are published. Of 164 patients age 16 and younger, Dr. Woodhall writes, â??The practice of pediatric neurosurgery is not a happy one. The vast majority are malignant.â??

Dr. Woodhall becomes dean of the School of Medicine.

Darell Bigner, MD, PhD, arrives at Duke as a medical student. He will remain at Duke for the next 44 years, except for two years spent at the National Institutes of Health and a year as a postdoctoral fellow in Germany.

A journal article reports on more than 300 cases of intracranial metastases and their neurosurgical treatment at Duke from 1938 to 1962. Half of the patients receive neurosurgical treatment; about one-fifth of them live at least a year, while 5 percent live 10 years, proving that surgery on single lesions has significant effect.

Late 1960s, early 1970s
Steve Mahaley, MD, a second-generation investigator at The Brain Tumor Center, is one of the first researchers to study immunological characteristics of human gliomas; he also studies the relationships between chemotherapy and immunology of brain tumors. Dr. Mahaley published more than 165 important scientific papers, reviews and book chapters, including the first comprehensive compilation and analysis of all reported modalities of therapy for malignant glioma.

North Carolina sees a remarkable rise in the practice of neurosurgery. In 1937 Dr. Woodhall was the stateâ??s only neurosurgeon, but by 1971, there are 32.

The Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center is formed. Drs. Darell Bigner and Steve Mahaley are listed as â??key investigators.â??

Allan Friedman, MD, joins Duke. He currently serves as chief of the Division of Neurosurgery and holds the Guy L. Odom Professorship of Neurosurgery, established by former neurosurgery trainees of Drs. Woodhall and Odom in 2001.

Dr. Bigner, with Dr. Woodhallâ??s support, designs and obtains a construction grant for the Cancer Center Isolation Facility, which allows investigators to work in isolated laboratories when doing research that requires biosafety II, III, and IV containment.

Henry Friedman, MD, joins Duke as a senior research fellow in pediatric hematology-oncology. He is now the deputy director of The Brain Tumor Center and holds the James B. Powell Jr. Professorship of Neuro-oncology.

Dr. Bigner, Dr. Henry Friedman, and S. Clifford Schold Jr., MD, find a way to implant human brain tumor cells in nude mice. Their goal is to treat human brain tumors in mice with different drugs to find one suitable for each individual patient, thus sparing patients the stress and negative side effects of ineffective drugs.

The Peter Preuss Foundation makes a major contribution to support brain research by establishing the Preuss Laboratory for Brain Tumor Research, with Dr. Bigner as director and Drs. Henry Friedman and Allan Friedman as associate directors.

Dr. Bigner is appointed as the Edwin L. Jones Jr. and Lucille Finch Jones Cancer Research Professor.

Pediatric neuro-oncology becomes a recognized program with the Duke Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, and The Brain Tumor Family Support Program at Duke is founded.

A board of advisors is established for The Duke Brain Tumor Center.

The Duke Forest 5K (now Angels Among Us) is organized by Cary and Kate Harrison, Terry Rose, and other volunteers to raise funds for brain tumor research. The efforts of hundreds of volunteers, patients, and families raised a total of over $4 million by 2007.

With continued growth in patient accrual, the program officially became the Duke Division of Pediatric Neuro-oncology with Dr. Henry Friedman serving as chief of the division and Beth Stewart, RN, MSN, assuming administrative direction of the program.

A vaccine developed by Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers shows promise in mice by treating brain tumors that had been thought â??off limitsâ?? for the immune system.

Drug studies begun in bakerâ??s yeast cells give rise to a new therapy for brain tumors at Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center, with the hope of turning promising laboratory findings into an effective new drug.

Hope for Kids with Cancer is organized by Johnny and Donna Dawkins in honor of their daughter Jill.

Hopebuilders 5K is organized by William and Gigi Harris and Marc and Mattye Silverman. Their efforts establish the Margaret Harris and David Silverman Professorship for Neuro-oncology Research, currently held by Francis Ali-Osman, DSc.

Jim and Mary Helen Dalton, members of the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Centerâ??s Board of Overseers, pledges $1,250,000 to support brain tumor research.

The pediatric and adult neuro-oncology clinical services merged into a multi-departmental joint program and became known as The Brain Tumor Center at Duke. The Center, at the time directed by Stewart and Drs. Henry Friedman and Allan Friedman, housed the clinical branch of The Brain Tumor Center at Duke. A $1-million gift from the Tim & Tom Gullikson Foundation ensured the continued development of family support programs and services, under the direction of Bebe Guill, MDiv, for the steadily increasing population of patients and families.
1997 Duke cancer and biochemistry specialists find that glioblastoma multiforme tumors that had become resistant to chemotherapeutic agents showed defects in the cellular mismatch repair system, a key factor in quelling cancer cells.

In initial clinical trials, Duke researchers significantly extend the survival of patients suffering the most malignant brain cancers by injecting antibodies directly into the cancerous region. The antibodies carry cancer-killing radioactive iodine-131 to the tumor cells.

Two years after the merging of programs, Sri Gururangan, MRCP (UK), was recruited to direct the pediatric neuro-oncology clinical activities, and Sandra Tourt-Uhlig, RN, and Bebe Guill, MDiv, assumed the supervision of over 40 full-time employees, including teams for comprehensive family support, clinical research, and administrative support in addition to pediatric- and adult-care clinical providers.

In the first study of its kind, Duke researchers use standardized methods to identify neurologic and psychiatric problems in adult brain tumor patients shortly after diagnosis, exploring specific issues affecting patientsâ?? quality of life.

Duke researchers report that a new monoclonal antibody which targets a mutated protein found only in cancer cells can eradicate tumors in mice without the aid of additional toxic substances.

Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure is founded by the Case family in memory of Dan Case, and pledges $5 million to The Brain Tumor Center.

Patients with cancerous brain tumors become the first to be treated with an intriguing new class of drugs called â??immunotoxinsâ??â??part tumor-recognizing protein, part bacterial toxinâ??in an early-phase clinical trial.

The Heroes of Hope Golf Tournament is organized to support brain tumor research and honor the life of Duke patient Brad Kaminsky.

A 40-minute profile of patients and doctors of The Brain Tumor Center is aired nationally on the CBS program 60 Minutes.

The Cape Lookout Albacore Festival is established by Charlie and Mary Utz and the citizens of Carteret County to support pediatric patients being served by Duke.

A $6-million award from the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation establishes a new institute devoted exclusively to pediatric brain tumor research. A brain tumor SPORE (Specialized Programs of Research Excellence) planning grant is awarded from the National Cancer Institute.

The Jonathan Spicehandler Invitational Golf Tournament is organized and leads to the establishment of the Jonathan Spicehandler Professorship for Neuro-oncology.

In a daring yet successful experiment, Duke researchers combine the cancer-killing properties of poliovirus with a harmless genetic coding element from the common cold. The modified virus creates a remarkably strong anti-cancer agent, rapidly killing cancer cells in laboratory cell cultures and in animalsâ??and without causing polio.

Researchers at the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center present four new and experimental drugs. Oneâ??ZD6474â??significantly slows the growth of three different types of brain tumors, a remarkable finding given that brain tumors are very distinct in their biologic makeup.

A gift from the Tug McGraw Foundation establishes The Tug McGraw Center for Neuro-oncology Quality of Life Research at The Brain Tumor Center.

The Brain Tumor Center is awarded one of the nationâ??s four fully funded SPORE awards in brain cancer from the National Cancer Institute ($8.2 million direct and $3.8 million indirect costs for a total of $12 million over 5 years).

The Preston Robert Tisch family of New York donates $10 million to support cancer research at The Brain Tumor Center and the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center. Of the $10-million gift, $5 million was earmarked for basic and translational research into promising new brain tumor drugs and to support brain tumor clinical trials. This gift, in part, extended the translational program that Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (ABC2) created with Duke in 2002, to accelerate potentially lifesaving drugs from the laboratory to the clinic in an effort to save patients with brain tumors. The remaining $5 million, which was matched by Duke University Medical Center, was used to create The Preston Robert Tisch Cancer Investigatorsâ?? Fund, which supports the recruitment of promising new cancer researchers to Duke. In recognition of the Tisch familyâ??s gift, the Center was renamed The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke in October 2005.

An experimental brain tumor therapy developed at Duke nearly doubles the expected survival time for patients with the deadly brain cancer glioblastoma multiforme.

An experimental brain tumor therapy developed at Duke nearly doubles the expected survival time for patients with the deadly brain cancer glioblastoma multiforme.

Duke researchers discover the presence of stem cells in the cerebellum, a brain region where a deadly type of brain tumor originates. Findings suggest that such tumors, called medulloblastomas, could arise from stem cells gone awry.

Duke researchers find that cancer stem cells in the brain help tumors to buffer themselves against radiation treatment by activating a â??repair switchâ?? that enables continued unchecked growth.

A Duke pilot study finds that Avastin, a new type of drug that shrinks cancerous tumors by cutting off blood supply, can slow the growth of the most common and deadly form of brain cancer.

An anonymous donor gives $5 million to Duke to establish two endowed research funds, one named for Dr. Allan Friedman and one for Dr. Henry Friedman. These funds can be converted into professorships in the future.
Today Today, the Center is led by Dr. Darell Bigner as director and Dr. Allan Friedman and Dr. Henry Friedman as deputy directors. Drs. David Reardon and John Sampson serve as associate deputy directors of the Center. Janice Hale, RN, is lead administrator for the clinical arm of The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center. The Center houses over 250 full-time employees devoted exclusively to neuro-oncology and encompasses laboratory, clinical, quality of life, and supportive care research programs; patient and family support programs; administrative support services; and adult and pediatric clinical care services.

Currently, the Center staff monitors the treatment of more than 2,000 patients from around the world. Since 1996, the Center has documented visits from 6,014 patients. Slightly more than 45 percent (2,756) are alive today, and 414 within that group are adult patients who are living three or more years since their diagnosis, including 134 with malignant glioma. More than 66 percent of adult brain tumor patients seen at Duke participate in a clinical trial, whereas fewer than 5 percent of adult brain tumor patients nationwide are enrolled in clinical trials. Seventy-five percent of Dukeâ??s pediatric patients are enrolled in clinical trials.

The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center clinical faculty includes Drs. Henry Friedman, Allan Friedman, David Reardon, James Vredenburgh, Jeremy Rich, John Sampson, Jennifer Quinn, Annick Desjardins, and Renee Raynor; pediatric specialists Drs. Sridharan Gururangan, Herbert Fuchs, and Gerald Grant; neuropathologists, Drs. Roger McLendon and Tom Cummings; neuroradiologist Dr. James Provenzale, and radiation oncologist Dr. John Kirkpatrick.

Duke Comprehensive Cancer Centerâ??s Neuro-oncology Research Program includes 40 researchers representing 12 departments in the Duke University School of Medicine and two within Duke University. Annually, these investigators are awarded more than $20 million (direct costs) in grant and contract support.
Showing 1 Reply
  • Reply #1 05/05/08  10:02am
    It is good to see a that research is going on to help people with brain tumor since I am one of those people dealing with a tumor that is killing me. I hope to see my sons 9th birthday. If that is God will.


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The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke.Money from the event is used to fund crucial initiatives that address the greatest needs and have the most impact on the lives of all brain tumor patients, support new and innovative research and treatments, assist with the recruitment of the most outstanding research staff and technical personnel, and purchase essential equipment and supplies.