What is BTTC?
In late-October, 2000, Chris Anthony visited MD Anderson Cancer Center with his wife, Kirsten, and brother, Matt, to consult with Neuro-Oncologist, Dr. Mark Gilbert. The consultation at MD Anderson followed Chris’ surgery two weeks prior at Plano General Hospital to remove a brain tumor. The tumor was diagnosed following surgery as a Glioblastoma (GBM).
Chris, Matt and Kirsten were well aware of the seriousness of his diagnosis, and low survival rate over two years. They felt MD Anderson would offer the greatest chance for the best treatment possible. Chris immediately felt comfortable with Dr. Gilbert — his honesty and candor, balanced with optimism and compassion. Chris asked Dr. Gilbert about his path forward, both in length of time and quality of life. Dr. Gilbert answered just as directly, saying, “Chris, you are at the best place, offering the most hope. And I can tell you with certainty that my colleagues and I are on a steady path, evolving our treatments toward a cure. And along the way, that evolution will result in a revolution, a cure for brain cancer.”
For more than two years, Chris battled his brain cancer with dignity, grace, peace-of-mind and unimaginable courage. He ultimately lost his battle on February 10, 2003.
Chris was an avid runner, with an unmatched competitive spirit. He loved to exercise and complete. So, in his memory, and in honor of others suffering from brain cancer, Kirsten, Matt and their Anthony family and friends started a 5k run in the Kansas City area. The first Head for the Cure 5k was held in October 2003, with simple goals of raising awareness and funds for brain cancer research. Mark Gilbert was a partner in the Head for the Cure effort from the very beginning, with proceeds from Head for the Cure events providing the seed funding for the organization Mark founded, the Brain Tumor Trials Collaborative, (BTTC).
BTTC was created as a network of medical centers with the expertise and strong desire to participate in state-of-the-art clinical trials investigating new treatments for malignant brain tumors. The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center serves as the lead institution and provides the administrative infrastructure, clinical database and oversight for the collaborative.
Several additional brain cancer-focused medical centers have since joined the BTTC. Together with MD Anderson, these institutions will allow patients across a broad geographic range to participate in cutting-edge clinical trials and more rapidly determine the benefits of various therapies.