A researcher from Southfield’s Beaumont has been awarded a five-year, $1.6 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to study metabolic reprogramming in glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer.
Dr. Prakash Chinnaiyan is a radiation oncologist and expert in the treatment of brain and spine cancer as well as a professor at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine. This is his second NIH grant to study metabolic reprogramming in glioblastoma. He has also received funding from the Department of Defense and the American Cancer Society.
“Cancer cells require specific nutrients to thrive and grow,” says Chinnaiyan. “The goal of our research is to identify what nutrients glioblastoma cells need to live, understand why they utilize these nutrients, and determine if these metabolic pathways can be disrupted. This understanding can lead to new treatments.”
Glioblastoma is the most common form of brain cancer among adults. About 15,000 Americans die from the disease annually. According to Chinnaiyan, the average survival rate of those diagnosed with the disease is two years with limited treatment options. Notable deaths include U.S. senators John McCain and Edward Kennedy, as well as Beau Biden, former vice president Joe Biden’s son.
It is uncommon for people with glioblastoma to live longer than five years. However, standard care for the disease involves removing most of the tumor surgically, followed by radiation and chemotherapy. The lab study will take place at the Beaumont Research Institute at Beaumont, Royal Oak.
“The NIH funding will allow our research team to continue this promising work for the next five years,” says Chinnaiyan. “We are hopeful our findings will lead to new treatments for patients diagnosed with glioblastoma.”