37-year-old Chibawanye Ene has won the 2019 Ronald L. Bittner Award on brain tumor research.
According to the Applied Radiation Oncology, a quarterly journal on cancer, Chibawanye Ene received the award at the 2019 American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) annual scientific meeting, which held from April 13 to April 17  in San Diego, USA.
Chibawanye Ene won the award with his research work titled: “Anti-PD-L1 Immunotherapy Enhances Radiation-induced Abscopal Response in Glioblastoma”.
Glioblastoma is an aggressive form of cancer that can occur in the brain or spinal cord with symptoms ranging from headaches to personality changes, nausea, and incontinence.
Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that helps immune system fight cancer, although it has been largely unsuccessful in the treatment of Glioblastoma.
According to the journal, the molecular structure of the tumor found in that form of cancer only allows few of the cancerous cells to be eliminated during treatment.
The new findings in Ene’s research have shown promise for better treatment options, revealing that “radiation combined with Anti PD L1 therapy induces an immunological response to unirradiated glioblastoma”.
“The researchers are currently optimizing other treatment combinations that could also be readily assessed in phase I human clinical trials.” the journal stated.
Endowed by E. Laurie Bittner in memory of her husband, the Ronald L. Bittner Award is given out yearly for the best abstract paper on brain tumor research submitted by a resident doctor or junior faculty member in the USA.
Chibawanye Ene was born and raised in Benin, Nigeria. He moved to the United States of America for college in 2000 and completed his undergraduate studies at Wayne State College, Nebraska with a major in Biology. In 2004, he began medical school at the Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis. Following his 3rd year, he received a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Fellowship to study the biology of glioblastoma-derived stem cells at the National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Health (NIH), Bethesda Maryland. He received continued support through the NIH to continue his work towards a PhD at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom. After graduating from Cambridge in 2011, he returned to Indiana for his final year of medical school and earned his MD in 2012. His research interests include understanding the pathogenesis of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most common primary brain tumors in adults. In the Holland Lab, Chiba is exploring susceptibility and resistance mechanisms of various GBM molecular subtypes to immunotherapy including genetically engineered T cells and checkpoint inhibitors. Chiba enjoys watching soccer, is an avid Chelsea FC fan and enjoys spending time with his family (wife and 2 boys).
Select awards and honors:
2012: Goodman Scholarship for Excellence in Neurosurgery, Indiana University School of medicine, Indianapolis, IN
2012: ‘Best Poster in Biochemistry’ at annual graduate student research symposium. National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD
2008: National Institutes of Health / Oxford / Cambridge Research Scholarship, Bethesda, MD
2007: Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Scholar (Cloister Program), Bethesda, MD