A $25 million award from the Department of Defense will extend funding for the Neurofibromatosis Clinical Trials Consortium for another 10 years.
The consortium was originally started in 2006 and has conducted 18 clinical trials involving more than 500 study participants so far. Over the years, it has grown from nine sites to 24 clinical sites.
Dr. Bruce Korf, associate dean of genomics and chief genomics officer at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Marnix E. Heersink School of Medicine, serves as the principal investigator of the NFCTC and leads the NFCTC Operations Center at UAB.
Neurofibromatoses are a set of three different conditions involving the development of tumors that may affect the brain, spinal cord and the nerves that send signals between the brain and spinal cord and all other parts of the body. They are caused by changes in genes that play key roles in suppressing growth in nervous system cells. These changes keep the genes from making normal proteins that control the ability of cells to function properly. Without the normal function of the proteins, cell growth increases, leading to the formation of tumors.
The NFCTC investigators have developed protocols, allowing for quicker turnaround of scientific reviews and regulatory approvals. The NFCTC also has partnered with pharmaceutical companies to acquire therapeutic agents and to assist with funding to conduct additional trials.