Photo of Mike Ciesielski of Roswell Park Allaince.

Photo of Mike Ciesielski of Roswell Park Alliance. 

Campaign for the Community contributions directed for Roswell Park Cancer Institute can help researchers find treatments for many different forms of cancer, including glioblastomas, one of the most common types of brain tumors.

“Glioblastomas, unfortunately are also among the most aggressive forms of brain cancer,” says Dr. Michael Ciesielski, an assistant professor of neurosurgery at Roswell Park and a research assistant professor at the University at Buffalo.

But there are signs of progress.

Roswell researchers have been working to target a specific protein, survivin, that is present in nearly all glioblastomas. They’ve developed an immunotherapeutic vaccine called SurVaxM that stimulates the body’s ability to control the growth of glioblastoma tumors.

Tests on a small number of patients have demonstrated promising results. A second multicenter study, funded entirely by donations, is underway treating newly diagnosed patients at Roswell, Cleveland Clinic, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Massachusetts General Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

At this point, Ciesielski says, SurVaxM represents the possibility of hope for patients where hope did not previously exist.

“New therapies in development coming through research labs, many of which are being developed and tested right here in Buffalo, will give patients options that can help improve their quality of life,” says Ciesielski. “But it takes an enormous amount of funding for us to do the kind of work that takes these new therapeutics from the lab to the bedside.”

Many treatments that could be developed in the lab lack the funding necessary to bring them to clinical trials – and government funding isn’t always available to bridge the gap between what researchers can accomplish and what patients might receive.

But your contributions can narrow that gap.

“Funding that comes to Roswell Park through the Campaign for the Community not only advances programs like the clinical trials for SurVaxM, but it can also help launch new research projects that could show promise for helping many people,” he says.