UK Brain Tumour Consortium: The Consortium has just launched a new website designed to draw attention to its campaign to improve outcomes for brain tumour patients. The group consists of the International Brain Tumour Alliance, Brain Tumour Research, Brain Tumour UK, the Joseph Foote Trust and the Samantha Dickson Brain Tumour Trust. It is focussing on three core ‘asks’ as outlined in its Manifesto. Furthermore, the Consortium wants to ensure that by 2014 at least 7.5% of UK adults with primary brain tumours are enrolled in randomised, controlled clinical trials as part of their therapy.
New therapy developments: Celldex advises that they have officially launched the rindopepimut phase III trial in patients with EGFRvIII positive glioblastoma. They have sites open in New York and Florida with several additional sites expected to come on line in the upcoming weeks. The study is listed here. The company plans to launch a patient-relevant study specific website in early 2012. There are also plans to recruit trial centres in a number of non-USA countries which will widen the options for patients in those areas.
Meanwhile, Celldex will use MDxHealth's epigenetic MGMT test for its trial, as will Professor Ulrich Herrlinger (Bonn) for his Phase III trial of adding lomustine to the concomitant therapy - known as CeTeG.
NanoTherm: The German company MagForce has signed a Letter of Intent with the Russian company Delrus for its support for the regulatory approval of its NanoTherm therapy for use with brain tumours and other indications. The therapy "enables the targeted therapy of solid tumours through the intratumoural generation of heat via activation of magnetic nanoparticles".
Cotara: According to the Company's website, Peregrine has requested a meeting with the FDA and in response the Agency has agreed to provide written feedback on the company's proposed pivotal trial design. Once a final protocol has been negotiated, Peregrine intends to seek partners both in the U.S. and internationally to support the development of Cotara for GBM."
Novocure announced in early December that "prominent neuro-oncologists at four clinical centers in the U.S. will be the first to provide access to its Tumor Treating Fields (TTFields) device, NovoTTF-100A System, for the treatment of recurrent glioblastoma multiforme (GBM)". The clinicians at the four centres are Drs Eric T Wong, Jay-Jiguang Zhu, Joseph Landolfi, and Herbert Engelhard. Novocure hopes soon to train clinicians at a further three sites in the USA.
Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (ABC2) has given a grant to Regulus Therapeutics to use microRNA therapeutics to discover chemically modified oligonucleotide anti-miRs for testing at the Samsung Medical Center in preclinical models that mimic human brain cancer.
Dr John M Abrahams, a neurosurgeon at the Westchester Brain Tumor Program (USA), is experimenting by applying Avastin directly to the tumour site after surgery for recurrent glioblastoma. His patients also receive routine chemotherapy.
Meanwhile, in a statement announcing the approval by Health Canada of the use of the Gliadel Wafer, which delivers carmustine to the brain tumour site, the company (Eisai) noted that since 1997 20,000 procedures have been performed using Gliadel.
EORTC 26082-22081trial: This randomized EORTC phase II trial is studying radiation therapy together with temsirolimus to see how well it works when compared with radiation therapy together with temozolomide in treating patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma having an unmethylated MGMT gene promotor. The trial includes 108 patients (27 in the UK) in 19 hospitals in nine countries.
This trial along with the CORE trial (Cilengitide) are the first trials in high grade glioma limited to a patient group without MGMT promoter methylation.
ASCO: Dr Clifford A Hudis will take up the role of President-elect of ASCO at its meeting in June 2012. ASCO has recently teamed with the National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS) to create an on-line module on medulloblastoma.
Electromagnetic Fields: The European Commission and the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) has launched a public consultation on the request for a new scientific opinion on the potential health effects of exposure to EMF. Submissions close on 27 January 2012. One of the terms of reference covers "the potential adverse effects of EMF on the nervous system, including neurobehavioural disorders and on the risk of neoplastic diseases".
Therapeutic cancer vaccines: A University of Michigan study of the correlation between therapeutic cancer vaccine research and cancer mortality and incidence identified 20 active clinical trials worldwide covering brain tumours in this area of research. This was from a total of about 230 such clinical trials targeting 13 different types of cancer.
Familial brain tumours: While inherited susceptibility might play a part in glioma the international Gliogene study (involving centres in the USA, UK, Sweden, Denmark and Israel), led by Dr Melissa Bondy, analysed the genetic makeup of 75 families where two or more members had glioma and identified a particular region on chromosome 17 called 17q12-21.3 as worthy of further study and sequencing. In the course of its study the group identified 1,000 families worldwide who are in the unfortunate category of having two or more members with glioma.
Statistics: In an Australian study of histologically confirmed primary brain tumours diagnosed in the most populous State (NSW) and adjoining Territory (ACT) during 2000-2008 researchers stated: "We observed significant increases in incidence rates for GBM, particularly after 2006, and meningioma with overall incidence rates comparable to recent US and European data. Incidence trends for Schwannoma, in contrast to the European experience, were observed to be significantly decreasing, but were akin to overall Schwannoma incidence rates from the United States."
Yaron Butterfield: In an amazing sequence of events Canadian scientist Yaron Butterfield who has himself received treatment for a GBM diagnosed in 2004, was part of the team at the British Columbia Cancer Agency (Vancouver, Canada) that made detailed studies of genetic aberrations on oligodendrogliomas and identified a new mutation in a gene called CIC which appears to be specific to oligodendroglioma brain tumours. Their research suggests "a functional interaction between CIC mutation, IDH1/2 mutation, and 1p/19q co-deletion."
Conferences and deadlines: The IVth Symposium on Neuro-Oncology in Practice "Brain Tumours: Now is the Future ...!" will be held in The Hague. Netherlands, on 27 January. The deadline for abstract submissions for the 2012 ASCO Annual Meeting is 1 February. The deadline for applications for the 2012 SNO International Outreach Research Fellowship is 3 February. "The purpose of this one-year fellowship is to provide a program for professionals from outside North America to perform clinical, translational or basic research in the area of pediatric or adult neuro-oncology in a clinical and/or laboratory setting in the United States or Canada." The15th Biennial Canadian Neuro-Oncology Meeting will be held in Vancouver, Canada, during 9-11 February. The European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) will be celebrating its fiftieth anniversary with a conference in Brussels on 15-16 March. The 4th Annual Conference of the Indian Society of Neuro-Oncology, ISNOCON 2012, will be held in Bangalore during 6-8 April. The early bird registration fee closes on 31 January. The 9th Meeting of the Asian Society of Neuro Oncology, ASNO2012, will be held in Taipei, Taiwan, during April 20-22. The Annual Conference of the Brain Tumor Epidemiology Consortium will take place in Montpellier, France, during 30 June - 3 July. The early bird registration closes on 15 March. The meeting of the European Association of Neuro Oncology (EANO 2012) will be held during 6-9 September at Parc Chanot, Marseille, France.
SNO: Over 1400 people attended the very successful 2011 SNO 16th Annual Scientific Meeting in Conjunction with the AANS/CNS Section on Tumors, held in Anaheim, California, during 17-20 November. One of the international proposals discussed was a twinning program between oncology centres in the less developed countries and centres in the developed world. Those who are interested in this idea should contact SNO. A week before the Conference, on 8 November, former SNO President Dr Abhijit Guha passed away after a three and a half year battle with AML. His dedication and work will be sorely missed and we offer our condolences to his family.
IBTA survey: More than 600 of our contacts responded to the on-line survey we recently conducted and provided a useful snapshot of our readers: 39% are brain tumour patients, family or caregivers (current and former); 34% are Doctors or health workers; 11% scientists or researchers; 2% Pharma employees; and 13% are a diversity of other categories, including many who are employees of charities or non governmental organisations. 82% thought the IBTA magazine "Brain Tumour" was "excellent" or "good". 279 respondents offered suggestions for the content and style of the 2012 magazine. 81% receive the E News and 78% look forward to reading it. 80% wanted to read about therapy and trial developments as their first priority and almost 50% forward the E News to colleagues, including 10 who forwarded it to groups of 100 or more people. The overwhelming majority were happy with the proposed dates of 28 October - 3 November 2012 for the 2012 Awareness Week, except for the reader who joked that it clashed with the birthdays of two of her children!
Legal aspects: Practising medicine or discussing aspects of it can bring into play all kinds of legal implications. In the UK a journalist for the Guardian Newspaper, and Internet blogger Rhys Morgan, found themselves threatened with libel action after referring to the work of a brain tumour clinic in the USA. In Australia there has been a case proceeding in the Perth District Court concerning a retired oncologist and neurosurgeon who are being sued because they allegedly did not inform a young man with a brain tumour and his parents that there were other specialists at the time (1996) who might be able to remove their son's tumour. In the UK a brain tumour patient has been denied a payout of more than 200,000 GBP because his policy was in its final year and he was diagnosed with a brain tumour four months before his policy expired. The Company would only pay out if he had notified them of his terminal condition twelve months before his policy expired. All very well if you have control over these matters but no one has.
Thank you for your continuing support. We wish all our readers a pleasant festive season and a successful New Year.
Kathy Oliver (Co-Director)
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