Dear Brain Tumor Community,
Due to ongoing concerns related to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued updated guidance for community and mass gatherings and is now asking that any event of more than 50 people that is scheduled for the next eight weeks be postponed, canceled, or moved to a virtual platform. As many brain tumor patients fall into “high-risk” categories, it is important that the National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS) observe the guidance of experts and public health authorities in order to ensure the well-being of our community and put the health of patients and families our top priority. Therefore, we’ll be moving all of our scheduled events and meetings, including Head to the Hill, during the months of March, April, and May to virtual platforms.
COVID-19 is a serious threat to American public health and we want to be sure we’re responding appropriately. At the same time, brain tumors also remain a major area of unmet medical need. So while we’re doing our part to contain the spread of COVID-19 and protect patients with compromised immune systems from the impact of this pandemic, we also must keep our mission in clear focus.
As most in our community need no reminding of, survival rates and available treatment options for many brain tumor patients remain unacceptably poor for far too long. The primary medications available for brain tumor patients were pioneered 50 years ago, in the 1970s. This rate of change isn’t good enough. We must do better moving forward.
And there’s good reason for optimism in this regard.
We just concluded the most productive decade in brain tumor research since the dawn of medicine. After the decoding of tumor cells’ secrets via the Cancer Genome Atlas program in 2008 and 2013 opened up a whole new world for researchers to explore, the last 10 years have seen new discoveries and greater insights into how to defeat brain tumors. At NBTS, we’re seeing the seeds of our past funded research beginning to sprout, ready to bear fruit. We are transitioning projects from our recent flagship research programs — the Defeat GBM Research Collaborative and the Defeat Pediatric Brain Tumor Research Collaboration — along with our ongoing commitment to our Community Research Funds in oligodendroglioma and low-grade glioma, ependymoma, and meningioma to a new slate of treatment development projects laser-focused on the rapid advancement of novel therapies.
Coupled with this, our advocacy efforts — with your voices leading the way — have continued to contribute to a new commitment from the federal government to support cancer research and access to care on multiple fronts. Our community continues to build and mobilize, increase its engagement and activism, and is playing an increasingly greater role in research and the shaping of how the medical and scientific communities treat those affected by brain tumors.
We can’t let all of this momentum slow down now. There is more work to do, and we must keep moving forward.
The outbreak of COVID-19 is a challenge. But it’s one we can work through. We have the tools and the will to do so. And we know you do, too.
We’ll be providing more information in the coming days and weeks about how you can continue to take action with the National Brain Tumor Society through each of the respective events you may have already registered for and/or are considering participating in. We’re determined to provide an engaging and meaningful platform for you to continue your inspiring efforts to help us conquer and cure brain tumors — once and for all.
We greatly appreciate our community’s understanding and flexibility during this public health crisis. Your support and commitment to helping us achieve our mission and vision are critical to everything we do at NBTS. We would not be able to move forward with our efforts to fight brain tumors without your continued inspiration, dedication, and generosity. We ask and hope that you will remain engaged with NBTS throughout this period.
With sincere gratitude,
David F. Arons, JD
Chief Executive Officer
National Brain Tumor Society