When Sridharan Gururangan, FRCP, joined the University of Florida College of Medicine’s department of neurosurgery in 2016, he had a big goal for the university: become a member of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium.
On July 16, Gururangan achieved that objective when UF was named one of four new PBTC member institutions along with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston; Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio; and the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.
The achievement 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 the University of Florida,” said Gururangan, who will serve as the principal investigator for the UF consortium site. “This puts UF on the map in terms of our brain tumor expertise.”
Established in 1999, the PBTC, 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 PBTC 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,” said Gururangan, an endowed professor in the Lillian S. Wells Department of Neurosurgery and the department of pediatrics in the UF College of Medicine, part of UF Health, the university’s academic health center.
UF is the only PBTC 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,” said Gururangan, also a UF Health Cancer Center member. “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 Centermember Duane Mitchell, M.D., Ph.D., have worked toward becoming a PBTC 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.”