In 2015, we continued to commit funding for our research team in spite of a challenging fundraising landscape.
Our research team held a two-day meeting at the Cleveland Clinic, outlining two key projects: A manuscript for potential publication describing the genetic landscape of GIST and planning a large-scale experiment aimed at understanding and targeting quiescence therapeutically. Several laboratories described novel mechanisms of Gleevec resistance, noting that treatment is still primarily focused on targeting KIT. New GIST models were described that will be useful in screening for new drugs against GIST. Drs. Corless and Heinrich highlighted their work in SDH-deficient GIST, which is focused on genotyping these lesions and developing models for testing novel therapies.
Tamas Ordog, a member of our team, published an important study on disease persistence (Stem Cells Translational Medicine), and Sebastian Bauer was presented with the 2015 GIST Group Switzerland Prize.
We continued to strengthen our GIST Collaborative Tissue Bank, creating a statistic reporting system, and began a collaboration with Dr. Chris Corless at OHSU, providing him with data for a Wildtype and Exon 11 research study using Tissue Bank and Patient Registry data.
The LRG participated in the NIH Pediatric and Wildtype Clinic, where patients interacted with leading experts in the field. We continued to provide Virtual Tumor Boards, providing access to expert consultation in a virtual environment for those who can not easily travel to a center of excellence.
From left to right: Helga Meier, Anette Duensing, and Roger von Moos
Our Patient Registry continued to be an invaluable source of research information providing empirical information to help increase survival for GIST patients. With new functionality, it is a powerful model for patient reported data that provides life saving information. We added 63 patients to the registry in 2015, including 42 international patients, and presented the registry as a model for other organizations.
Our GIST Cancer Journal continued to provide high level information about GIST by top medical experts to the medical and research community, with four issues published in 2015 reaching an audience of over 10,000 each issue.
The LRG continued to pursue partnerships to network with experts in the field, attending both ASCO and CTOS, and meeting with University of Kansas Sarcoma Learning Collaborative Task Force to better understand opportunities in the sarcoma world.