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Timothy F. Cloughesy elected to the Association of American Physicians

UCLA Health News

Post Date:March 29, 2022 6:00 AM
Dr. Timothy Cloughesy

Dr. Timothy F. Cloughesy has been elected to the Association of American Physicians (AAP), an honor society recognizing exemplary physician-scientists who contribute to clinical medicine through the pursuit of basic science.

Cloughesy is a professor of Neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA; co-director of the UCLA Brain Tumor Center; and a member of the UCLA Brain Research Institute the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.

A main focus of Cloughesy’s research is developing treatment methods for glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer. Typically, these tumors are treated through chemotherapy, radiation therapy or surgery. Recently, Cloughesy and UCLA researchers and fellow Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center members David Nathanson, Ph.D. and Michael Jung, Ph.D. identified ERAS-801, a molecule that targets a gene mutation affecting a majority of glioblastoma patients. This oral medicine has just been approved by the FDA for clinical trials.

Cloughesy says his motivation for research like this has always been patient focused.  “Having patients and their family members really challenge me about the limited therapeutic options, it made it clear that the only way we were going to be able to change the therapeutic landscape is if we engage the different faculty members and technologies that exist in the University. In order to make a difference we have to combine our expertise of drug development, cancer biology and clinical drug development with impatience imparted by our patients.

Cloughesy’s research has also helped develop a new type of international platform trial to assess therapies for glioblastoma for market approval. GBM AGILE is a new approach that has a perpetual control arm and several treatment arms entering and leaving the study over time. This, along with other Bayesian statistical approaches, allows researchers to determine futility or success of therapies more rapidly with less cost and fewer patients. If one treatment has a better response than another, more patients will be assigned to that option. Cloughesy is now the Global Principal Investigator of GBM AGILE.

“To date, we have screened over a thousand patients for enrollment in the trial, which is significant given the relative rarity of the disease. GBM AGILE has made it more attractive for drug makers to develop brain cancer drugs due to the lower costs associated with a late development stage trial. I’ve been very proud to be involved, to help push it forward and to be one of the founders of this trial,” says Cloughesy.

On being elected to the Association of American Physicians, Cloughesy says he is honored to be considered. He hopes to continue making breakthroughs in treatment methods with the ultimate goal of helping patients and their families.

“At this point in my career there appears to be more clarity how to move from brain cancer target to clinical drug candidate through clinical development toward market approval all with the goal of changing the survival of those diagnosed with glioblastoma,” says Cloughesy.

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