A promising cancer research project is getting a major boost from one of the Institute's most valued philanthropic partners.
The Marcus Foundation has made a $6.5 million grant to the tumor monorail project, a collaboration among Georgia Tech, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, and Emory University that involves the design and testing of a new device for more efficient treatment of brain tumors.
"This support will enable us to accelerate the development of a novel tumor monorail device to treat brain tumors in patients," said Ravi Bellamkonda, professor and Wallace H. Coulter Chair in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, and lead investigator of the project. "Research labs such as ours are set up to achieve scientific and engineering breakthroughs, but for these breakthroughs to reach patients, we need to follow good manufacturing practices, rigorous safety and quality testing, adhere to FDA guidelines for obtaining regulatory approvals, and design appropriate clinical trials. All of these processes are going to be greatly enhanced and accelerated with this critical and visionary Marcus Foundation support."
The funding will enable researchers to move this technology into clinical trials and ultimately to the people who are facing these medical challenges. The grant will also enable device design and prototyping, development of an FDA-compliant manufacturing process, and FDA approvals for a clinical drug study to be conducted in Atlanta.
Invaluable support for the project has also been provided by Ian's Friends Foundation, an Atlanta-based nonprofit that supports pediatric brain tumor research. Though the monorail project was inspired by a desire to treat pediatric brain tumors, the research may also be applied to adult brain tumors.
The project exemplifies Georgia Tech and Atlanta's strength in developing innovative technologies to better children's health — a burgeoning area of research known as "pediatric bioengineering."
"On behalf of our lab, our collaborators, and most importantly all the patients that may benefit from this therapy, I am deeply grateful to The Marcus Foundation for their vision and commitment to accelerate the development of our research so it can reach patients faster than it would have otherwise," Bellamkonda said.