What is a Novel Therapeutic Accelerator, and why do we need one?

3 min read

Quick facts: 

  • The accelerator programme, funded by Brain Tumour Research in partnership with Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission, provides expert advice to research groups in order to get more therapeutics into human trials and bridge the ‘Valley of Death’ in the research pipeline
  • The most recent review meeting took place 10-12th May 2024 in Lisbon, Portugal 

What is the Brain Tumour Research Novel Therapeutics Accelerator (BTR-NTA)? 

Through the BTR-NTA programme, research groups which have a promising new therapeutic, device or idea for brain tumour treatment can apply to have their research robustly reviewed by academic and industry experts.  

The review process identifies potential pitfalls and risks, including clinical trial design, the type of models used in pre-clinical testing, and the robustness of the data already collected. Industry and academic experts then provide the applicants with clear and independent advice in order for them to be more successful in the next step on their route to clinical trial. 

Why does the brain tumour sector need an accelerator programme? 

There is promising and robust research taking place in academic institutions and in industry all over the world, however the number of these potential therapeutics or devices making it to clinical trial is extremely low. The gap between the research and clinical trials has been dubbed the ‘Valley of Death’. 

This programme will provide expert advice to help groups position their candidate therapeutic or device on a successful path to clinical trial. Applications for clinical trial funding, for instance, will be more successful as the research groups will have already addressed any overlooked areas. 

As a result, it is hoped that the programme will see more therapeutics or devices enter human trials, more research focused on drug discovery, improved relationships with industry and academia, and the de-risking of trials. 

Dr Karen Noble, our Director of Research, Policy, and Innovation, and one of the advisors on the programme, said: “We hope that this programme will result in more basic research progressing successfully to clinical trials so that we can find new treatments and ultimately a cure for brain tumours. 

Who funds the BTR-NTA and what is the process? 

Brain Tumour Research funds the initiative in partnership with the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission (TJBCM). 

The process includes a pre-application step where research groups register their interest. Appropriate groups will be invited to complete a full application and meet with the BTR-NTA expert committee at an in-person review meeting to discuss their idea in detail. 

Credit: BTR-NTA  

Next steps for interested researchers:  

  • The Pre-Application form, Applicant Guide and further information can be found on here  
  • Interested researchers can email Charlotte (BTR-NTA Programme Manager) for more information about the programme or if you have any questions: charlotte.aitken@tessajowellbcm.org 

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