OK so how do we go about deciding which projects to fund?
Well it works like this……
Firstly we will announce a call for Statements of Interest (SOI) in a Research Grant that we will be making, for example a £100,000 grant.
The SOIs are then passed to our International Peer Review Panel which is made up of brain tumour specialists, cancer specialists and lay people. The IPRP is global and its members are located in Norway, the USA and the UK and they all provide their input completely free (Headcase’s one and all!)
The IPRP’s job is to review the SOIs and to make recommendations to the Headcase Trustees as to which ones, if any, to take forward to a Full Application.
A Full Application is obviously a much more detailed document for which we provide a template for the Applicants to fill in. The Full Applications are then reviewed again by the IPRP and they again make recommendations to whittle the applications down to either one or two for the Headcase Trustees to consider funding.
Peer Review is incredibly important to make sure that we are funding the right projects. If a project stands up to the scrutiny of specialists and lay people then we can be confident that our main criteria of undertaking work that is directly translational to a cure for GBM will be met.
Before we get into the detail, it’s important that you know what it is that underpins all of our research.
Headcase doesn’t believe in Art For Art’s Sake, so all of our research has to have a translational value or we simply won’t entertain it. Basically that means we have to see how the science in the lab will translate to a treatment in the real world.
That path can be quite long but we have a Research Strategy that looks at ways of sneaking onto the path nearer to its end as well as starting at the very beginning.
In essence our Research Strategy is split into 4 main areas –
1st step research
Cell Mitochondria (looking at how to turn off GBM’s power source)
GBM metabolism (looking at how to make GBM more susceptible to drugs)
Invasion (how to stop GBM invading the healthy parts of the brain)
Angiogenesis (how to stop GBM from creating new blood supplies)
New methods to get drugs through the Blood Brain Barrier
Immunology (stimulating the immune system to kill GBM)
Cancer Vaccines (developing a vaccine to target GBM cells)
Molecular Genetics (studying how GBM cells react to treatments)
New theraputic agents (….. are what it says on the tin)
Repurposed & Reformulated Drugs (using existing drugs for something new)
Where we get sneaky in the above is our involvement with Repurposed and Reformulated Drugs. By testing and trialling existing drugs, that are used to treat conditions and diseases other than cancer, we are able to avoid the lengthy and costly work in the early stages of trials e.g. working out safe dosage levels, establishing side effects etc. This means that we are able to get drugs into people much quicker, and cheaper, which has to be a good thing.
Further our commitment to nano-tech means that we are able to get drugs and other agents to the brain which hasn’t be possible previously except in the lab. So now we will be able to test both new agents and existing drugs where this hasn’t been possible previously.
We believe that this strategy puts us, and you, at the cutting edge of research to find a cure for GBM quicker than would be possible taking the traditional research route.
We don’t make any claims or give targets as to what we can or want to achieve in a particular timeframe. The reason for that is we don’t operate under the strict ‘rules’ that other charities impose on themselves.
We write our own ‘rules’.
Because we’re not bound by the ‘rules’ we’re leaner, fitter and faster which means we’re able to get drugs and other agents into trial much quicker and much much cheaper. Our targets aren’t driven by saying we’ll increase survival times in a set number of years, or find a cure.
Our target is to get potential life saving and life extending treatments into people quicker than anyone else.