Passing the Blood Brain Barriers to Improve Drug Delivery to Tumor in the Central Nervous System

February 23-26, 2012, Santa Monica California

Oren Becher, MD, Duke University (Forbeck Scholar 2009)
Robert Wechsler-Reya, Ph.D., Sanford-Burnham Institute

Gerry Grant, MD Duke University
Damir Janigro, Ph.D. Lerner Research Institute
Aaron J. Johnson, Ph.D. Mayo Clinic
Kwang Sik Kim, MD John Hopkins Medical Institute
Russel Lonser, MD National Institutes of Health
Ruth Viola Lyck, Ph.D. Theodor Kocher Institute
Edward Neuwelt, MD Oregon Health & Science University
John Ohlfest, Ph.D. University of Minnesota
William Pardridge, MD University of California Los Angeles
Arie Reijerkerk, Ph.D. VU Medical Center
Eric Shusta, Ph.D. University of Wisconsin
Mark Souweidane, MD Cornell University
Danica Stanimirovic, Ph.D. National Research Council of Canada
Tetsuya Terasaki, Ph.D. Tohoku University
Robert Wechsler-Reya, Ph.D. Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute
Oren Becher, MD Duke University
Ingolf E. Blasig, Ph.D. Forschungsverbund, Berlin
William F. Elmquist, Pharm D, Ph.D. University of Minnesota

As a pediatric neuro-oncologist who treats children with brainstem gliomas, I am amazed that there is not a single drug approved to treat brainstem gliomas despite numerous clinical trials. This observation suggests that drug delivery may be a major obstacle to progress against this rare pediatric tumor (an observation that I also noted in work with mouse models of brainstem gliomas) There is insufficient attention and research on how to circumvent the blood-brain-barrier (BBB) when in comes to the treatment of tumors in the central nervous system. There are numerous clinical trials initiated using novel agents to treat brain tumors without adequate preclinical evaluation of whether the new agents actually cross the blood-brain-barrier. The goal of the meeting is to bring together basic scientists of the blood-brainbarrier with translational physicians who treat tumors in the central nervous system to come up with new strategies to overcome the blood-brain-barrier. There was a similar meeting organized by the Forbeck foundation in 1988. Now 22 years later, it is time to reconvene a new meeting on the topic to bring forth new ideas and plans to overcome the BBB as it is still a significant obstacle. We now have improved research tools that would allow us to investigate this problem in greater depth. While there are blood-brain-barrier meetings taking place, there are very basic and do not focus on improving drug delivery for tumors located in the central nervous system. This meeting also has applications to neuroblastoma (NB) as with improved therapies, more children with NB present with recurrent neuroblastoma to the central nervous system.

The end-product of this meeting will be new collaborations and renewed focus on this challenging scientific problem with significant medical implications. A manuscript will be written up from this meeting and submitted to the Journal of Neuro-Oncology.