Scandinavian countries: IBTA representatives will speak at the Norwegian brain tumour group's annual meeting at Sandefjord during 21-22 April and will attend the meeting of the Danish group in Copenhagen on 24 April.
Visual field testing: An Edinburgh (UK) based company i2eye Diagnostics has developed a device called SVOP (saccadic vector optokinetic perimetry) to measure a person's central and peripheral vision by instinctive responses to light and movement and if any issues are identified they can be explored for the possibility of stroke or a brain tumour.
Nanoparticle radiation: Researchers in the US are preparing a clinical trial to test the effectiveness of a new method they have developed of encapsulating the short half-life rhenium-186 in fat molecules which are infused into a brain tumour.
Conference in Poland: The early bird registration deadline for the "Brain Tumors 2012" scientific conference to be held in Warsaw, Poland, during 28-20 May is 15 April.
The cellphone discussion: In a News Note published on 8 March the US National Cancer Institute reported: "In a new examination of United States cancer incidence data, investigators at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) reported that incidence trends have remained roughly constant for glioma, the main type of brain cancer hypothesized to be related to cell phone use. The researchers found that while cell phone use increased substantially over the period 1992 to 2008 (from nearly zero to almost 100 percent of the population), the U.S. trends in glioma incidence did not mirror that increase. Results of this study were published online March 8, 2012, in the British Medical Journal."
MR Perfusion imaging: A study first published on-line in November 2011 has appeared in the March 2012 issue of the American Journal of Neuroradiology and concludes that "Perfusion imaging appears to have a significant impact on clinical decision-making and subspecialist physicians' confidence in management plans for patients with brain tumor."
Brain tumor treatments timeline: Dr Susan M Chang (USA) has helped develop an interactive timeline of the development of brain tumor treatments as part of an ASCO series for all cancers. The IBTA has obtained permission to reproduce the timeline in a printed version and our graphics designer Edwina Kelly (UK) has created a very useful chart which will be featured in the forthcoming 2012 issue of the IBTA's "Brain Tumour" magazine. Incidentally, Dr Chang plans to visit Australia with Dr Michael Vogelbaum for the MOGA/COGNO meeting later in the year and has agreed to speak at a brain tumour patients' and carers' forum in Brisbane on 11 August.
Protein sfrp4: Professor Arun Dharmarajan (Western Australia) and Dr Sudha Warrier (Bangalore, India) are collaborating in exploring the effectiveness of the naturally-occurring protein sfrp4 in attacking brain tumour stem cells.
BTIC diagnostic imaging agents: Arch Biopartners Inc in Canada has received funding from the National Research Council of Canada to continue with its research into BTIC diagnostic imaging agents for use in magnetic resonance imaging. BTICs are described as "... a cancer stem cell population that represent a significant disease reservoir believed to play an important role in the formation and recurrence of malignant glioma in humans. BTICs are not detected by current medical diagnostic imaging technologies."
"Breakthrough Products": Friends of Cancer Research have suggested to a US Congressional Sub-Committee that Congress should enact legislation that would designate a new compound that shows substantial clinical activity in early phase trials as a "Breakthough Product". In these cases the sponsor, in conjunction with the FDA, would develop trial designs to abbreviate or combine traditional phases of development. They suggested this approach after pointing out that with new targeted therapies "the traditional multi-phase, sequential development approach may not be appropriate, particularly if existing treatment options have limited efficacy".
DC (dendritic cell) manufacturing process: ImmunoCellular Therapeutics is pleased with recent developments in its manufacturing process for its ICT-107 DC-based product against GBM which shows that "Analysis of manufacturing data indicates that this process can produce up to 30 vials of ICT-107 product and 30 vials of placebo (DCs without tumor-specific antigens) in a single production run."
Something to aim for: Discussing a 21,626-person study of the five-year survival rate for children and adolescents with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), Dr Stephen Hunger of the University of Colorado Cancer Centre said that "In early 1960s this disease was incurable ... Then in the late 1960s, the cure rate was 10 percent. Now almost 90 percent of children and adolescents diagnosed with ALL will be cured. Still, a 90-percent survival rate is little consolation to the 10 percent of families whose child doesn't survive. There's still more work to be done". If only this progress and these statistics could be applied to paediatric brain tumours.
NovoTTF-100A trial: According to updated information on the clinicaltrials.gov website NovoCure Ltd has increased its estimated enrolment for its study of the device used with temozolomide in newly-diagnosed GBM patients, to 700. The estimated study completion date is April 2015.
Sarah Smith: Sarah was the young girl with a brain tumour whose photo featured on the cover of the 2010 edition of the IBTA's "Brain Tumour" magazine which captivated the hearts of many of our readers. Unfortunately, Sarah passed away but this month her 14 year old sister Jillian spoke about Sarah at a ceremony to mark the largest private donation given to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto. You can see a video of Jillian's talk here.
Cost of brain tumours in Europe: We have just been made aware of the release in October last year of the Cost of Disorders of the Brain in Europe report published in European Neuropsychopharmacology (2011) 21, 718–779. The report is mainly concerned with the neuro degenerative and other areas of brain disorders but it does contain a section on brain tumours whose cost is calculated as €5.2 billion in 2010, with Latvia having the highest male incidence (12.0) and Ireland (7.3) the highest female incidence. Compared to a similar study in 2005 benign brain tumours were included on this occasion.
Mibefradil: Tau Therapeutics is to commence a Phase 1b trial of mibefradil with a T-type calcium channel blocker in patients with recurrent high grade glioma. The Company raised $4.2 m for this purpose in January and the trial was to commence in the third quarter of 2011. The company announced on 28 February that the FDA accepted an investigational new drug application (IND 109196) for mibefradil.
F18-DOPA PET/CT: In a prospective study a group of physicians changed the intended management plan for 41 percent of patients with brain tumors as a result of imaging using F-18-DOPA.
DCVax-L: Northwest Biotherapeutics announced that it had entered into an agreement with the American Red Cross to provide blood collection services through which immune cells are obtained to make DCVax-L treatments for brain cancer patients, initially in connection with its ongoing Phase II clinical trial for newly diagnosed GBM.
Elisabetta Mancini Camporeale. The IBTA was tremendously saddened to hear of the death of Elisabetta Mancini Camporeale who, with her husband Giovanni Camporeale, was a Co-Founder and Co-Editor of BrainLife, an online structured database of medical sources relating to brain tumours. Elisabetta was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme on 13 December 1999 and passed away on 2 March 2012. As a 13 year survivor of a malignant brain tumour, Elisabetta inspired patients around the world with her story of hope and determination. As well as co-editing BrainLife, Elisabetta wrote numerous children’s stories which can also be found on the BrainLife website. The IBTA worked closely with Elisabetta and Giovanni and we send our deepest condolences to the Camporeale family on the loss of a truly amazing woman.
The European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) celebrated 50 years of progress against cancer on 15 and 16 March in Brussels at which the IBTA was represented. The EORTC Network comprises over 300 hospitals and cancer centres in over 30 countries which include some 2,500 collaborators from all disciplines involved in cancer treatment and research. Dr Roger Stupp who leads the multi-disciplinary brain tumour clinic at the University of Lausanne Medical Center (CHUV) in Switzerland is the President-Elect of the EORTC and will serve in this capacity from 2012 to 2015.
Generic Temodal: On 21 March the Michigan (US) based company Perrigo announced that it had received permission from the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration to sell generic temozolomide in Australia.
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Kathy Oliver (Co-Director)
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