Dr. Souweidane Named to NCI’s Brain Malignancies Steering Committee

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Dr. Mark Souweidane, Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center

Dr. Mark Souweidane has been selected by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to serve as a member of its Brain Malignancies Steering Committee (BMSC).  The committee is charged with reviewing and prioritizing Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical trial concepts, in order to promote the best clinical and translational research for patients with brain cancer. Dr. Souweidane will serve as the committee’s Neurological Surgery Special Expert.

The NCI is the primary federal agency for cancer research, and sets the national agenda for cancer research. It funds a large number of research scientists and cancer research institutions in the quest to find new treatment options. The BMSC, which is one of 16 steering committees, has set four strategic priorities for brain cancer, and evaluates clinical trial proposals against those priorities. The committee favors those clinical trial proposals that support the priorities, which are biologically or genomically based trials; studies that pair a novel agent or modality with pharmacodynamic or immunological measures; studies that pair novel agents or modalities with imaging biomarkers or molecular biomarkers; and studies that focus on process improvement approaches that may enhance a patient’s quality of life.

Dr. Souweidane is an internationally known expert in pediatric brain malignancies. His current Phase 1 trial is testing convection-enhanced delivery of a therapeutic agent called 124I-8H9 directly to the tumor site using a surgically placed infusion cannula. The agent consists of the 8H9 antibody, which is produced by mice and has been shown to attack many kinds of tumors, combined with the radioactive substance 124I. In studies on other kinds of cancer, 124I-8H9 has delivered a one-two punch, with 8H9 binding to the tumor and 124I killing the cancer cells with radiation. The trial has also produced a significant amount of new data on measuring tumor volume and imaging diffuse and infiltrative tumors. (More about the trial.)

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