Brain Tumor Funders’ Collaborative Announces $3 Million in Grants

Funding Will Support 4 Collaborative Teams to Help Bridge the Translational Gap in Brain Cancer Research

CHICAGO, January 17 – The Brain Tumor Funders’ Collaborative (BTFC) – six funders of brain tumor research – just announced $3 million in grants to four multi-institutional teams of researchers and clinicians studying immunotherapy in primary brain tumors.

“This collaborative speaks directly to the core of our mission,” said Ralph DeVitto, president and CEO of the American Brain Tumor Association. “This unique opportunity allows us to work with like-minded organizations to provide a greater amount of support for brain tumor research.”

The four funded projects will examine vaccination strategies, the tumor’s micro-environment, anti-tumor T-cells, and personalized immunotherapy approaches. They were selected during a multi-stage review process from more than 79 responses to the BTFC call for proposals.

The following institutions will be receiving $750,000 BTFC grants over the next three years:

Project Sponsor: David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Project Title: Active vaccination and the timing of checkpoint blockade dictate effective immunotherapy for glioblastoma
Project Manager:  Robert Prins

Project Sponsor: McGill University
Project Title: Harnessing the brain tumor immune-microenvironment to enhance therapeutic efficacy
Project Manager:  Daniela Quail

Project Sponsor: UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
Project Title: Interrogating anti-tumor T-cells To develop adoptive cell transfer (ACT) Immunotherapy for pediatric high-grade gliomas
Project Manager:  Gary Kohanbash

Sponsoring Institution: University of California, San Francisco
Project Title: Three dimensional immuno-genomics approach to personalized neoantigen-based immunotherapy
Project Manager:  Joseph Costello

The Brain Tumor Funders Collaborative was formed by private foundations and non-profit organizations to pool their resources and become more strategic by focusing their research dollars toward specific therapeutic goals. The BTFC organizations combine this research funding with patient education and advocacy.

Note: The following organizations participate in the BTFC and in this joint funding initiative:

  • American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA)
  • Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada
  • James S. McDonnell Foundation
  • Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation
  • Sontag Foundation
  • Anonymous

Further information about the BTFC and its funding initiative can be found at

Brain tumor facts are available at

About the American Brain Tumor Association

Founded in 1973, the American Brain Tumor Association was the first national patient advocacy organization committed to funding brain tumor research and providing support and education programs for people of all tumor types and all ages. For more information, visit or call 800-886-ABTA (2282).


Nicole Willmarth, PhD