Dr. Slawomir Kumala, William Donald Nash Brain Tumour Research Fellowship Winner

2013-2015 William Donald Nash Brain Tumour Research Fellowship has been awarded to Dr. Slawomir KumalaProject: Combi-molecule, ZRBA1, as a novel molecular targeted therapy integrated with high dose rate ionizing radiation to treat malignant glioma tumours

Location: Jewish General Hospital, Segal Cancer Centre, Montreal, Quebec

Project Summary:

Every day, 27 Canadians are diagnosed with a brain tumour, one of the most difficult to treat and lethal entities in human health. The most common and deadliest primary brain tumour derives from the cells that support neurons in the brain and is called glioblastoma multiforme.

Although no contemporary treatments are completely curative and glioblastomas are known to be one of the most radioresistant types of tumour, development of new targeted drugs termed “combi-molecules” has spawned renewed interest and enthusiasm for investigating new treatments possibilities and increase the effect of radiotherapy.

In my project I aim to demonstrate that efficacy of the therapy against glioblastoma can be significantly enhanced when this novel drug is administered in tandem with the newest, ultra high dose rate radiotherapy.

From the final report

Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common and aggressive malignant primary brain tumour in adult patients. The current standard of care comprises of maximum safe resection surgery followed by chemoradiation with Temozolomide (TMZ). However, a large percentage of tumours are resistant to the cytotoxic effects of TMZ due to the elevated expression of the repair protein O6-methylguanin-DNA-methyltransferase (MGMT) and/or a defect in the mismatch repair (MMR) pathway. Additionally, among key elements involved in driving of glioblastoma growth is the transmembrane epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) which is known to be over expressed in 40-70% of GBMs and has been associated with aggressive tumour progression, invasion, and reduced sensitivity to chemoradiation.

Therefore the main objective of these studies, as a part of the William Donald Nash Fellowship, was to develop a novel, targeted and more effective GBM treatment. I have been testing the radiosensitizing abilities of a novel binary targeting molecule, ZRBA1, designed to inhibit EGFR activity while additionally inducing DNA lesions of the similar class to TMZ. Collected data show that combination of this novel multi-targeting agent with radiation represents an extremely promising treatment option for GBM patients which has demonstrated to be very effective in subtypes of patients who acquired resistance to current therapy. Read the final report on the progress of this research.

In June 2014. Dr. Kumala submitted a mid-point report on the progress of his research.
Read more about William Donald Nash, the man who inspired and gave to launch this important research program.

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For more information about Brain Tumour Research Fellowships, please contact:

Susan Ruypers
Research Program Specialist
1-800-265-5106 ext 240


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