brain cancer
Brain scans. Photo via @HubBucket X

A $2.5 million award has been given to the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center from the Department of Defense to develop a treatment for glioblastoma, it was announced Wednesday.

A team of investigators from the center received the Translational Team Science Award to produce a tailored treatment for the deadly brain tumor with limited treatment options.

The team includes David Nathanson, an associate professor of molecular and medical pharmacology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Benjamin Ellingson, director of the UCLA Brain Tumor Imaging Laboratory and professor of radiological sciences, and Dr. Timothy Cloughesy, professor of neuro-oncology. They plan to target the epidermal growth factor receptor, a protein that is mutated in about 60% of people diagnosed with glioblastoma, according to a release from UCLA.

Previous attempts have produced limited success improving patient outcomes, a result of drugs’ inability to cross the blood-brain barrier and target genetic alterations in the protein that are unique to glioblastoma. Researchers have developed ERAS-801, a brain penetrant inhibitor that has shown to work well in preclinical models as a way to overcome the obstacles in previous attempts.

They are now testing the treatment in early clinical trials with patients diagnosed with this type of brain tumor.

“Brain cancer is a major issue, especially for people in the military,” Nathanson said. “We are hopeful that creating personalized treatments like this one and using advanced testing methods could help not only people with brain cancer but also with other rare diseases.”

City News Service contributed to this article.