$4 Million Research Grant for Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Launches Initiative for Drug Delivery Innovation

February 27, 2020

Columbia’s pediatric hematology, oncology, and stem cell transplantation team is launching a groundbreaking research program in pediatric neuro-oncology, the Initiative for Drug Delivery Innovation in Childhood Brain Tumors, which is being created with support from a $4 million donation over two years from Gary M. Fegel, Founder and Chairman of the Fegel Family Foundation. Facilitated by Hope & Heroes, the initiative will develop innovative therapeutic approaches to improve clinical outcomes in pediatric brain tumors, the leading cause of death for children with cancer.

Stergios Zacharoulis, MD, Herbert and Florence Irving Associate Professor of Pediatric Neuro-Oncology at Columbia University Medical Center and head of research endeavors for the initiative, and his colleagues will use the inaugural novel drug-delivery methods project to focus on therapeutic treatment approaches for pediatric and adult brain tumors. This will include a complex combination of advanced methods of biomedical engineering, bioinformatics oncology, and neurosurgery to potentially deliver drugs to brain tumors more efficiently. The grant will advance this ambitious scientific agenda while providing cutting-edge clinical trials for patients. “The Initiative for Drug Delivery Innovation's findings have the potential to shift the entire treatment paradigm in place for brain tumors,” says Dr. Zacharoulis. “Combining the most innovative therapeutic approaches can improve the patient care of today, and identify the cures of tomorrow.”

Fegel is taking an active approach to his philanthropic efforts as the head of the initiative’s Advisory Board, along with selected benefactors, physicians, researchers, and other professionals whose collaborative efforts and expertise will advise the research and resulting trials.