National Brain Tumor Society: Grants for Brain Research and Treatment

OVERVIEW: The National Brain Tumor Society awards grants to work toward systematic change that will quicken the pace of brain tumor drug development and discovery. Though it is the "largest nonprofit organization dedicated to the brain tumor community in the United States," it is extremely choosy about the projects it supports.

IP TAKE: NBTS doesn’t award a huge number of grants annually; however the grants they do award are typically of the multi-year variety. Another plus: NBTS does not seem to award grants based on career stage, so investigators in every phase of their careers are eligible to apply.

PROFILE: The National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS) was established in 2008, but its history dates back to the 1980s. In 1981, a group of healthcare providers out of San Francisco founded the National Brain Tumor Foundation. In 1989, after suffering the loss of her son, Seth to a brain tumor, Bonnie Feldman along with a group of like-minded people established the Brain Tumor Society in Boston. In 2008, the two organizations joined up to create the NBTS. Now, the foundation takes “a multi-faceted and thoughtful approach to aggressively influence and fund strategic research and discovery, as well as advocate for public policy changes, in order to achieve the greatest impact, results, and progress for brain tumor patients.” The organization directly supports brain tumor research through its grantmaking but it also joins up with other funding organizations such as the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) to achieve its brain tumor goals.

NBTS is engaged in several multi-faceted Integrated Initiatives addressing brain tumor drug discovery and development on multiple fronts including research, industry engagement, and public policy:

  • The Defeat GBM Research Collaborative “aims to double the five-year survival rate of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) patients in just five years, through robust research collaborations and a novel scientific construct.”

  • Clinical Trial Endpoints “works with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to recommend alternative (and additional) clinical trial endpoints to accelerate the pace of development for drugs, which will provide clinical benefits to patients.”

  • The Community Research Fund “allows contributors to pool donations to support research on a specific type of tumor.” When the fund hits its funding goal for the disease in question, it releases a Request for Proposals. The fund’s current subject is Oligodendroglioma.

  • Pediatric Initiatives “seek to address the key barriers slowing pre-clinical research and investment in drug development, as well as identify treatment options which are safe and minimize long-term side effects on pediatric brain tumor patients.”

  • Systems Biology initiatives are based on the belief that an “approach focusing on the entire complex brain tumor system, can deliver more compelling insight and drive research to effective therapies much faster than under traditional research methods.”

NBTS is public about its Past Grants, but does not always publish its grant amounts. NBTS posts current grant opportunities on its website, although there are frequently none at all.

Most Requests for Applications require a Letter of Intent before submitting a full application. The foundation does not otherwise accept unsolicited proposals. Applicants should make themselves familiar with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) application standards before submitting.

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