When Sridharan Gururangan, FRCP, joined the University of Florida College of Medicine’s department of neurology in 2016, he had a big goal for the university: becoming a member of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium (PTBC).
On July 16, Gururangan achieved that goal when UF was named one of the four new PTBC member institutions along with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts, Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Ontario.
Being a member of the consortium allows UF pediatric brain tumor researchers the ability to collaborate and rapidly enroll patients in clinical trials and offers patients access to some of the world’s most leading-edge research technology and expertise.
“This is a huge win for University of Florida,” Gururangan, who will serve as the principal investigator for the UF consortium site, said. “This puts UF on the map in terms of our brain tumor expertise.”
Established in 1999, the PTBC, which is sponsored and funded by the National Cancer Institute, combines the expertise of competitively selected institutions to develop and conduct novel clinical trials for the treatment of pediatric brain tumors.
“The PTBC has literally created a paradigm shift in the way brain tumors are treated in children and is constantly testing novel combinations and approaches to the treatment of pediatric brain tumors,” Gururangan, a UF Health Cancer Center member and an endowed professor in the UF College of Medicine’s department of neurosurgery, said.
UF is the only PTBC member institution in Florida. Additionally, UF has also been an active member of the Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium since 2017.
“We are the only institution in the state of Florida to be able to offer clinical trials from two major consortia in the United States” Gururangan said. “And we are the only center in Florida that can offer other unique UF-initiated brain tumor immunotherapy clinical trials for adults and children in the state and the entire country.”
Over the last five years, Gururangan and his colleagues, including UF Health Cancer Center member Duane Mitchell, M.D., Ph.D., have worked toward becoming a PTBC member by expanding UF’s brain tumor expertise and laboratory progress.
“It requires a village to do this,” Gururangan said. “There’s a whole lot of very talented people behind me in this process. We plan to continue our successes in this endeavor and increase new treatment options for children with brain tumors at UF.”