Press Releases

July 28th, 2022 Baptist Health South Florida

Miami Cancer Institute Receives Support of National Institutes of Health for Continued Research on Glioblastoma

$3.9 million NIH R01 Grant will be used to lead study in the treatment of Glioblastoma patients

MIAMI, FL- July 28, 2022– Research to better determine if a patient’s glioblastoma (GBM), an aggressive brain cancer, has or will return is moving forward thanks to a National Institutes of Health research grant awarded to Drs. Manmeet Ahluwalia and Pallavi Tiwari.

Manmeet Ahluwalia, M.D., deputy director, chief scientific officer and chief of Solid Tumor Medical Oncology at Miami Cancer Institute, part of Baptist Health South Florida is co-principal investigator of the $3.9 million, five-year NIH R01 grant, along with Pallavi Tiwari, Ph.D., of Case Western Reserve University. In addition, the study leverages the long-term relationships with collaborators Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, Northwestern University and GE Research.

Approximately 15,000 Americans are diagnosed with glioblastoma each year. Awareness of the disease has continued to rise as it has claimed the lives of prominent individuals, including Sen. Edward Kennedy, Sen. John McCain and Beau Biden, son of U.S. President Joe Biden. Even with advances in cancer care, the prognosis for glioblastoma patients has not changed significantly and patients typically survive just 15-18 months beyond diagnosis.

“One of our challenges has been that current imaging studies done after radiation and chemotherapy often fail to distinguish between progression versus pseudoprogression due to the inflammation in the brain,” Dr. Ahluwalia said. “Pseudo progression occurs in 40% of the patients falsely indicating that the cancer is progressing when it is not and, as a result, patients can be taken off medications and treatment can be discontinued. That’s why this grant and research is so important as it will augment our current tools and make it more effective.”

The award for “Quantitative Imaging Phenotypic Classifier for Distinguishing Radiation Effects from Tumor Recurrence in Glioblastoma” will allow researchers to continue developing and optimizing sex-specific image-based recurrence risk classifers (male/female models have already led to better prediction of overall survival). The study will be the largest multi-institutional histopathologically confirmed cohort to date and will ensure that non-invasive decision support is accurate.

The R01 grant is the original and historically oldest grant mechanism used by the NIH, the largest public funder of biomedical research in the world. Only some 10 percent of R01 applications are funded, making them extremely competitive.

“The award is significant as Miami Cancer Institute continues to grow and offer innovative treatments on our journey to becoming a nationally and international recognized cancer center,” said Michael J. Zinner, M.D., CEO of the Institute. “We are proud to be on the leading-edge of cancer care”.

About Miami Cancer Institute

Miami Cancer Institute brings to South Florida access to personalized clinical treatments and comprehensive support services delivered with unparalleled compassion. No other cancer program in the region has the combination of cancer-fighting expertise and advanced technology—including the first proton therapy center in South Florida, Latin America and the Caribbean, and one of the only radiation oncology programs in the world with each of the newest radiation therapies in one place—to diagnose and deliver precise cancer treatments that achieve the best outcomes and improve the lives of cancer patients. The Institute offers an impressive roster of established community oncologists and renowned experts, clinical researchers and genomic scientists recruited from the nation’s top cancer centers. Selected as Florida’s only member of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer (MSK) Alliance, Miami Cancer Institute is part of a meaningful clinical collaboration that affords patients in South Florida access to innovative treatments and ensures that the standards of care developed by their multidisciplinary disease management teams match those at MSK.

Miami Cancer Institute is part of Baptist Health South Florida, the largest healthcare organization in the region, with 12 hospitals, more than 24,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 100 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Baptist Health has internationally renowned centers of excellence in cancer, cardiovascular care, orthopedics and sports medicine, and neurosciences. In addition, it includes Baptist Health Medical Group; Baptist Health Quality Network; and Baptist Health Care On Demand, a virtual health platform. A not-for-profit organization supported by philanthropy and committed to its faith-based charitable mission of medical excellence, Baptist Health has been recognized by Fortune as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America and by Ethisphere as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies.

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