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The Ludwig Boltzmann Society Funds Research Project with JKU and KUK Involvement

Innovative collaboration: The ATTRACT study will focus on individual treatment options for glioblastomas.

F.l.t.r: Andreas Gruber (JKU), Anette Leibetseder (KUK), Philip-Rudolf Rauch (KUK), Sabine Spiegl-Kreinecker (JKU), Andrea Navarro-Quezede (JKU), photo credit: JKU
F.l.t.r: Andreas Gruber (JKU), Anette Leibetseder (KUK), Philip-Rudolf Rauch (KUK), Sabine Spiegl-Kreinecker (JKU), Andrea Navarro-Quezede (JKU), photo credit: JKU

Glioblastomas are a type of very aggressive brain tumors. A research study titled "Personalized Targeted Glioblastoma Therapies by ex vivo Drug Screening: Advanced Brain Tumour Therapy Clinical Trial", ATTRACT for short, will focus on developing individualized methods and treatment options involving glioblastomas. The results obtained from ATTRACT, and subsequent efforts to introduce functional precision medicine, could significantly improve the way glioblastomas are treated.

Following a wide call for proposals, an international high-profile expert commission reviewed 44 applications and selected three groups, among them the ATTRACT research group under the leadership of Associate Professor Anna Sophie Berghoff (Medical University of Vienna), with involvement by JKU researcher Andreas Gruber (Department of Neurosurgery), as well as Dr. Josef Pichler and Dr. Annette Leibetseder (Neuro-Oncology Center at the Kepler University Hospital).

The Ludwig Boltzmann Society's competitive funding program "Klinische Forschungsgruppen" is Austria's first collaborative research initiative focusing on patient-oriented, medically related topics in the field of non-commercial clinical research.

Each selected project will receive funding of up to €1 million per year for a period of up to eight years.

Univ. Prof. Dr. Andreas Gruber remarked: "As part of the ATTRACT research group, it is an honor for the fairly new medical university in Linz to receive this type of competitive funding by the Ludwig Bolzmann Society as part of the "Clinical Research Groups" funding program. The proposed research approach to address individual therapy for glioblastomas is groundbreaking and only possible on account of a better understanding of the disease’s molecular basis in recent years. Similarly, just as microsurgical treatment for brain-derived tumors has become more efficient and safer thanks to procedures such as intraoperative MRI and fluorescence technology (both of which have been in place in Linz for over 10 years), the ex vivo drug screening underlying this study will also result in improving drug-based tumor therapy."

Senior physician Dr. Annette Leibetseder added: "The ATTRACT project aims at establishing a concept of functional precision medicine to treat glioblastomas so that patients can benefit from a more individual type of treatment. An interdisciplinary, Austria-wide consortium is making this project possible. The cornerstone of ATTRACT involves an innovative ex vivo drug screening platform to analyze the response of patient-derived tumor cells (PDCs) towards selected drugs. The clinical benefit of this approach is being explored as part of a prospective, multicenter, randomized phase 2 trial. We plan to include 240 adults who have been newly diagnosed with glioblastoma."