IBTA e-News – April 2012

By 15th April 2012e-News Archive

Dear Friend,

Dental X-rays and meningiomas: The publication of the results of a study (freely available here) showing the possible connection between certain types of dental X-rays and meningiomas was bound to generate much media excitement. The major conclusion of the research was: "Exposure to some dental x-rays performed in the past, when radiation exposure was greater than in the current era, appears to be associated with an increased risk of intracranial meningioma. As with all sources of artificial ionizing radiation, considered use of this modifiable risk factor may be of benefit to patients." Even the UK Economist magazine reported the study and their report found favour with at least one commercial dentistry website. A more detailed analysis appeared in a UK regional newspaper here and on further examination their article was sourced to a London commercial health analysis group called Bazian but no specific author of the commentary was identified.

CNS tumours and suicide and cardiovascular death: In a major study of more than six  million Swedes to examine the association between a cancer diagnosis and the immediate risk of suicide, or death from cardiovascular causes during 1991-2006, researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden studied 13,447 people with CNS tumours. The researchers found a highly elevated risk of suicide during the first three months after a cancer diagnosis for all cancers but skin cancer; the risk elevation was strongest for cancers of the esophagus, liver or pancreas followed by lung cancer and CNS tumours.

For deaths from cardiovascular causes, the researchers more closely examined the first week after cancer diagnosis, and they found that CNS tumour patients had the highest risk increase from cardiovascular death during the first week after diagnosis, compared to patients with other cancers. In this latter analysis, stroke was excluded from cardiovascular deaths given the concern of misclassifying CNS tumours as stroke and vice versa. These results have implications for clinical practice and supportive care of brain tumour patients. The study was reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.

DCVax and the UK: US-based Northwest Biotherapeutics announced last Thursday that it had entered into a partnership with Kings Health Partners, which includes Kings College Hospital, London, to both manufacture and distribute its DCVax immune therapy product to participants in its Phase II study for newly diagnosed glioblastoma patients. The CEO of Northwest Biotherapeutics stated: "This partnership can help accelerate our brain cancer clinical trials, and also help extend lives through compassionate use treatments for other patients while the trials are ongoing. "

Brain metastases and MRIs: Researchers at the University of Oxford (UK) have developed a contrast agent that sticks to a molecule called VCAM-1 that is present in large amounts on blood vessels associated with brain metastases, thus enabling very small tumours to be better detected in MRI scans.

Food for the brain: The UK Brain and Spine Foundation has produced a new information sheet which discusses good nutrition for the brain. While it does not present the information in the context of a brain that might be fighting a tumour, it highlights potentially useful foods that could be explored further.

New treatment approach: Researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University (USA) have had good results in animal models from a new treatment approach for invasive brain tumours which involves the use of imipramine blue, followed by conventional doxorubicin chemotherapy.

Celldex Rindopepimut trial: The Phase III Celldex Study of Rindopepimut/GM-CSF in Patients With Newly Diagnosed Glioblastoma (ACT IV) has now reached 112 centres, with most located in the USA but others are also located in Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, and Taiwan.

Estonian article wins award: An article published in the Estonian daily newspaper Öhtuleht about a child with a brain tumour has won a Best Cancer Reporter merit award for its author Silja Paavle, from Cancer World, published by the European School of Oncology. It can be viewed here.

Chinese research: Professor Harn Horyng-jyh (Taipei) has reported good results in laboratory research against GBM using z-butylidenephthalide, a natural compound extracted from the Chinese medicinal herb Angelica sinensis.

TMZ and MGMT: Chinese researchers from the People’s Republic of China have demonstrated that resveratrol, a natural polyphenol, is able to reverse TMZ (temozolomide) resistance of glioblastoma T98G cells which have relatively high MGMT activity.

Dell Inc and genomic calculations: The computer company Dell Inc will donate server capacity for a collaboration between the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and the Neuroblastoma and Meduloblastoma Translational Research Consortium (NMTRC) to undertake heavy-duty genomic calculations.

Brain tumour patient's dismissal case: The case of a Loudon (Virginia, USA) County Public Schools employee fired after taking approved medical leave for the treatment of a brain tumour will go to a jury trial after a (US) federal judge refused to dismiss her case.

OPAXIO: Cell Therapeuitics is continuing its randomized Phase II clinical study comparing OPAXIO (paclitaxel poliglumex, PPX, CT-2103) and radiation therapy with standard therapy for newly-diagnosed GBM patients.

Conferences and dates: June 15th is the early registration deadline for the 10th meeting of the European Association of NeuroOncology  (EANO) to be held in Marseille, France, during 6-9 September. The 4th ESO-SIOP Europe Masterclass in Pediatric Oncology, to be held in Rome during 24-29 November, will include CNS tumours as a main topic. May 3 is the last day to register for the Childhood Cancer Action Day (3-4 June) in Washington DC.

Antibody treatment: Brain tumours are one of seven cancers that appear to respond in laboratory research involving an anti-CD47 antibody.

PatientView: The PatientView group has a new RSS feed for patient group news and invites patient groups to submit their news. See here.

Paediatric LGG: Promising results have been published of a Phase II study involving the use of vinblastine for paediatric low grade glioma (LGG) patients who have experienced treatment failure with first-line chemotherapy.

NICE: The UK National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has been busy in two areas of interest to the brain tumour community: Opioids in palliative care, where it has released draft guidance, and headaches - where it will release draft guidance to stakeholders on 25 April.

Thank you for your continuing support.

Denis Strangman (Chair and Co-Director)
International Brain Tumour Alliance IBTA

Kathy Oliver (Co-Director)
PO Box 244, Tadworth, Surrey
KT20 5WQ, United Kingdom
Tel:+ (44) + (0) + 1737 813872
Fax: + (44) + (0) +1737 812712
Mob: + (44) + (0) + 777 571 2569

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