History of the Brain Tumor Center of Excellence

The Brain Tumor Center of Excellence (BTCOE) was established in 2003 to develop a comprehensive academic brain tumor program at the Wake Forest Baptist Comprehensive Cancer Center (WFBCCC). The pre-existing foundations of excellence in both clinical care and clinical research in patients with brain tumors, and a growing research interest in the field of brain tumors and brain cancer treatment, greatly facilitated the creation of the BTCOE. 

  1. Former Chair of Neurosurgery, Dr. Eben Alexander, was a co-investigator on the first Phase III trial of glioblastoma; “Evaluation of BCNU and/or radiotherapy in the treatment of anaplastic gliomas: A cooperative clinical trial” J Neurosurg 49:333-343, 1978. 
  2. Drs. Steve Tatter and Ed Shaw (former Chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology) led the NABTT Consortium (New Approaches to Brain Tumor Therapy) GliaSite study. This work resulted in FDA approval of GliaSite; “An inflatable balloon catheter and liquid 125I radiation source (GliaSite Radiation Therapy System) for treatment of recurrent malignant glioma: multicenter safety and feasibility trial” J Neurosurg 99(2):297-303, 2003. 
  3. Multiple WFBCCC investigators (Drs. Shaw, Steven Rapp, and Michael Chan, current Vice-Chair of Radiation Oncology), initiated and conducted an NCI-supported pioneering Phase III trial on radiation-induced cognitive impairment; “Donepezil for Irradiated Brain Tumor Survivors: A Phase III Randomized Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial” J Clin Oncol 33(15):1653-9, 2015. 
  4. Dr. Shaw co-led a landmark study on low-grade glioma treatment; “Radiation plus Procarbazine, CCNU, and Vincristine in Low-Grade Glioma” N Engl J Med 374(14):1344-55, 2016. This study is one of few examples of a significant therapeutic effect seen in patients with gliomas. 
  5. WFBCCC is a 20-year member institution of the NCI funded brain tumor consortium (NABTT) and Adult Brain Tumor Consortium (ABTC). 
  6. Over 70 phase I, II, III investigator initiated, cooperative group and industry supported brain tumor clinical trials were successfully completed at WFBCCC. 
  7. Dr. Debinski, SPORE PI, was one of few neuro-oncology researchers in the world whose drug candidate actually made into Phase III efficacy trial chiefly based on uncommon results seen in early phase clinical trials (J Neurosurg 113: 301-309, 2010). 
  8. Finally, WFBCCC collaborated with the University of Pittsburgh and UCSF to conduct an NCI-supported, first-ever vaccination trial in patients with low-grade gliomas (Clin Cancer Res. 21:286-94, 2015).