Darell Bigner, MD, PhD, Receives Award

By: Jenna Lewis, Writer, Tisch Brain Tumor Center

The National Cancer Institute has honored Darell Bigner, MD, PhD, with the Outstanding Investigator Award (OIA). The OIA is a generous 7-year grant that allows investigators to embark on or continue projects that show exceptional potential for cancer research. Bigner began his investigative career by developing animal models of malignant brain tumors in order to explore more innovative brain tumor therapies; currently, he has established over 60 patient tumor-derived xenografts of malignant gliomas. A forerunner in brain tumor research, Bigner was one of the first to develop a large group of permanent cell cultured lines from malignant gliomas and medulloblastomas. He was also the first to discover that lethal allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE), an inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system, could be induced in malignant glioma patients receiving immunotherapeutic treatments. This crucial finding, which has been a major contribution to brain cancer research, led to the monitoring for EAE in malignant glioma patients enrolled in immunotherapy trials. The OIA will help enable Bigner to continue his research, in which he is sure to add even more feats to his already impressive list of accomplishments. Congratulations to Dr. Bigner, who truly is an Outstanding Investigator, on this phenomenal achievement!