Oligodendroglioma and research

Where Cancer Research Money Goes

Brain tumors are not rare. Over 210,000 Americans are diagnosed with them every year.  However, there is little awareness of the scope and severity of brain tumors. As shown on the chart below, the amount of money going to brain tumor research is very small compared to other forms of cancer.  With over 100 kinds of brain tumors, dividing up the small funding pie has led most foundations to focus on one or two types of brain tumors—and not Oligo.  


As a result of this lack of funding, the new, important developments in cancer treatment have not been tested against Oligo. So there have been no potential new treatments in the pipeline for us the past 20 years—and that has to change!  And the change has to start with us because the big cancer foundations mostly ignore brain cancer and don’t have any interest in Oligo.  Even the main brain tumor foundations seem unlikely to make a difference due to lack of focus, funding or vision when it comes to Oligo.  

Finally, Research is Starting

A number of good things have started in the past 4 years, the result of which is a substantial increase in funding for Oligo research.  In 2016, more than $4 million will be dedicated to research on Oligo.  This is a reason for hope, but hardly a guarantee of new treatments in the near future.  With such limited resources we have be nimble and very, very smart with our choices. Think of us as David and cancer—and the old-school research approach—as Goliath.



Most of the research funded to date by other organizaitons offers little hope of leading to new treatments in a time-frame that would matter to Oligo survivors today.  That is just not good enough for those of us living with the disease and the specter of recurrence.  Oligo Nation is the only foundation that is focused on translational research that could yield new treatments in the next 3 - 5 years.  We are looking to piggyback on major developments in immunology and cell therapy, including Oligo in near-term clinical trials.

Our recent grant to Stanford is a good example; Oligo will be included in a major immunotherapy clinical trials starting in 2017, plus preclinical research will be done to test the effectiveness of the Stanford agent in combination with established immunotherapies.  This will give us insight into whether these other therapies hold promise for Oligo treatments.