Contact: Diane Greenberg (516)344-2347 or Mona S. Rowe (516)344-5056
Upton, NY - Jeffrey Coderre, a scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, has been awarded tenure. Tenure appointments recognize independent accomplishment of a high order in the performance of original research or other intellectually creative activity appropriate to the purposes of the Laboratory.
Dr. Coderre is the principal investigator of the Boron Neutron Capture Therapy (BNCT) program at Brookhaven Lab. BNCT is a promising experimental therapy for glioblastoma multiforme, a lethal type of brain cancer that strikes about 7,000 Americans annually.
Under a protocol sanctioned by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, Brookhaven researchers, in collaboration with others from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan, and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, have been treating selected brain cancer patients. First, the patients are injected with a tumor-seeking chemical compound, called BPA, which collects in the tumor. Then, the researchers use a beam of neutrons from the Brookhaven Medical Research Reactor to activate the BPA, and, subsequently, destroy the tumor cells.
The median survival of the 41 patients who have undergone BNCT is 13.4 months, which is comparable to the median survival of patients who have undergone conventional treatment with radiation and chemotherapy. However, quality of life is improved because conventional treatment requires many hospital visits, while BNCT requires one treatment that lasts about one hour. The trials are continuing to determine whether increased doses of BPA and/or neutron radiation can increase the survival rate.
Dr. Coderre's work laid the foundation for initiating the BNCT experimental trials at Brookhaven in 1994. He and his colleagues provided a basis with which to calculate safe radiation levels for treatment. They also determined that BPA would be the best compound for BNCT treatment of brain tumors and, potentially, for the treatment of other types of cancer. Preclinical biochemical studies performed by Coderre and others determined the increased levels of boron uptake in brain tumor cells, compared to the cells in the normal brain.
In 1975, Jeffrey Coderre earned a B.S. degree with two majors - one in marine science and another in chemistry - from Southampton College, and, in 1977 and 1981, respectively, he earned an M.S. and Ph.D. from Yale University, both in chemistry. Dr. Coderre first came to Brookhaven as a guest researcher for several months in 1975 and, again, in 1976. After working as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Francisco, he joined the scientific staff in Brookhaven's Medical Department in 1984.
Among his honors, Dr. Coderre has received the 1994 Hatanaka Memorial Award from the International Society of Neutron Capture Therapy in Japan, and the 1990 Award for Excellence in Research presented by the Sydney Melonoma Foundation, Australia. He received a Distinguished Alumnus Award from Southampton College in 1987; and he has won fellowships from the National Institutes of Health, 1983-84, and Yale University, 1978-79; and was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Iceland, 1975-76.
NOTE TO LOCAL EDITORS: Jeffrey Coderre is a resident of Wading River, NY.