Treat some low grade gliomas (LGG) differently: In a presentation at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting US researchers suggested that “Based on integrated analysis of genome, transcriptome, methylome and proteome we showed that LGG naturally separates into three distinct groups that traversed grades and histologies. Importantly, we identified a subtype with an LGG-like histology but a molecular GBM profile, suggesting that the GBM standard of care, concomitant radiotherapy and temozolomide, may be warranted for these patients. We propose that classification of LGG should be revised based on IDH1/IDH2 mutation and 1p/19q deletion status.” Comment: To date the general approach to LGG brain tumours has been to not automatically apply therapies that have been established for glioblastoma (GBM). This new suggestion, which is based on analysed data from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) brain tumor studies, might lead to altered clinical practice.
Pain control for craniotomy patients: One of the presentations at the recent Annual Scientific Meeting of the AANS (American Association of Neurological Surgeons) was a report which indicated that the IV formulation of acetaminophen might be a safe, potent non-opioid choice for pain control for craniotomy patients.
Meanwhile, at King’s College London in the UK a studentship funded by Eli Lilly and Company has thrown light on the mechanisms by which peripheral pain is generated by chemotherapy drugs such as vincristine and has identified receptors on the immune cells that could be targeted and treated in combination with administration of the chemotherapy
Important dates: Abstracts accepted for the annual scientific meeting (ASM) of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) will be available on-line on the ASCO abstracts website on 14 May. The IBTA will be represented in the combined ASCO-sponsored patient advocacy booth (#3005). Do visit our volunteers and introduce yourself. Copies of the 2014 edition of Brain Tumour magazine will be available from the IBTA booth. See item at the end of this E-News for further details of the magazine.
The deadline for abstract submissions for the Asian Society for Neuro Oncology (ASNO) conference to be held in Istanbul during 11-14 September is 16 May. The deadline for early registration is 4 July.
The Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) Collaborative is holding a Foundational Meeting of all DIPG Collaborative partners and prospective organisations by special invitation, on 17-18 May, in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA.
The deadline for the registration and accommodation package for the Annual Meeting of the British Neuro-Oncology Society on 9-11 July, is 24 May.
The deadline for participation in the James Lind Alliance (JLA) Neuro Oncology Priority Setting Partnership (PSP) survey to determine the top ten research questions for brain and spinal cord tumours has been extended to 31 May. The JLA PSP Neuro-Oncology Group has been set up to promote research that answers the questions of greatest importance to people living with these types of tumours and those who care for them.The survey originates from the UK but people from anywhere in the world can participate.
The deadline for abstracts for the ASM of the Society for Neuro-Oncology (SNO) is 9 June.
The early registration rate closing date for the meeting of the European Association of Neuro-Oncology (EANO) is 15 June.
The deadline for applications for seven SNO travel scholarships for non-North American applicants to attend the annual ASM is 1 July. Check the International Outreach section of the SNO website.
5-ALA or iMRI: A report presented at the recent AANS (American Association of Neurological Surgeons) Annual Scientific Meeting concluded that for detection of infiltrating tumors, 5-ALA (5 amniolevulinic-acid florescence) is superior to Gd-DTPA-enhanced iMRI(intraoperative MRI) concerning both sensitivity and specificity. Comment: The forthcoming IBTA Brain Tumour magazine contains an article by Professor Walter Stummer (Germany) discussing 5-ALA and drawing attention to how the product has been approved in Europe but not yet by the FDA in the USA. (A copy of the magazine may be requested via the on-line form on the IBTA website at www.theibta.org)
UK health service admits liability: A UK woman who was sent home from hospital in 2009 without any scans to see if she had a brain tumour, and later collapsed and was admitted to hospital when the brain tumour was discovered, has been awarded an interim payment of £100,000 (about $169,000 USD) with prospects of a care package to be agreed. The Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust originally refused to agree liability but admitted 90 percent liability just weeks before the case was due to go to trial, five years later, in 2014.
I-Spy 2 trial: There has been recent discussion about possibly adapting the methodology of the I-Spy 2 trial model for women with newly-diagnosed, high-risk breast cancer, to trials of new therapies for brain tumours. The breast cancer approach involves testing multiple drugs from multiple companies. According to an explanation on the I-Spy 2 website “Although surgery has traditionally been done before starting chemotherapy, chemotherapy is now more often being given before surgery, called neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Research has shown that there is no overall survival difference if you receive chemotherapy before or after your surgery.” Comment – There is a major difference between the breast cancer scenario and the malignant brain tumour scenario in so far as brain tumours can replicate themselves rapidly and if there is to be a deliberate delay in resecting a brain tumour then the dangers of a delay have to be balanced ethically in each situation.
Brain metastases: A retrospective analysis of 352 breast cancer patients found that those with extracranial metastasis and negative ER status exhibited an almost 50% risk of developing brain metastases.
Herbalife and brain tumors: ABC News in the USA has screened an expose of a claim by a New York Herbalife distributor of its diet and nutritional products that a woman with a brain tumour allegedly became symptom free after starting on Herbalife products. Company executives claim to have taken pains to prohibit such tactics. The television report can be viewed here but only by US residents.
Risk of divorce among seriously ill partners: A researcher at the University of Michigan (USA) has found that when a partner becomes seriously ill (including with cancer) overall 31 percent of marriages, where one partner was over 50, ended in divorce. But the incidence rises when the wife – but not the husband – becomes seriously ill. Comment – There is plenty of anecdotal information in the brain tumour community about marriage break-ups (not necessarily only among the “older”) following the diagnosis of a brain tumour but we know of no studies that have focussed on this disease population.
Teenage growth and glioma risk: Researchers from the USA in a presentation to the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) have tentatively suggested that people who stopped growing at age 19 or older had nearly twice the risk of glioma as those who stopped growing at age 15 or younger. They emphasise that further study is required.
Parents as caregivers: A study of 270 US and Canadian parents of children with a severe illness (including cancer) found that they experienced growth as individuals in the areas of relating to others, personal strength, appreciation of life and spiritual change, despite also experiencing challenges in employment status and cost of being a carer. They spent an average of 62 hours per week on their caregiver duties.
Cardiologists and brain tumors: An Israeli researcher presented updated information at an interventional cardiology meeting in Argentina about brain and neck tumors among physicians exposed to ionizing radiation in the cath lab. Twenty-six of thirty cases were on the left side of the head – the side directed towards the radiation source. Comment – The suggested correlation is not new but there appears to be little that has been done to test the alleged correlation.
Large tumour removed in India: A neurosurgeon at the G.B. Pant Hospital in Delhi has removed a very large brain tumour (15 cm x 7 cm x 7 cm) from the brain of a 20 year old male from Uttar Pradesh. The event has apparently been entered in the (Indian) LimcaBook of Records.
Book for brain tumor patients and families: A Kindle version of the book Navigating Through a Strange Land: A Book for Brain Tumor Patients and Their Families, by Tricia Ann Roloff, and which was described by the author in Brain Tumour magazine in 2012, is available via Amazon for $9.99 USD.
Therapy and company news –
Magforce Nanotherm study: We understand that the Nanotherm MF 1001 clinical study of the therapy, which involves the injection into the tumour of “superparamagnetized iron oxide nanoparticles”, has now been activated in six centres. The Company also recentlyreported meeting with the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Devices and Radiological Health to discuss its NanoTherm therapy.
Stem cells from human body fat and GBM: In studies with mice US researchers extracted mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) from human body fat, modified them, and injected them into the brains of mice with GBM. This led to better outcomes for the treated mice compared with untreated mice. Study leader Dr Quinones-Hinojosa cautioned that they are years away from human trials.
Tocagen: Updated interim clinical data from two ongoing investigational studies of Toca 511 in combination with Toca FC in 68 patients with recurrent high grade glioma were presented at the AANS Annual Meeting.
Immunotherapy: There are several abstracts related to immunotherapies and brain tumours in the abstract document for the Association for Cancer Immunotherapy (CIMT) Annual Meeting to be held in Mainz, Germany, during 6-8 May. Isarna Therapeutics (formerly Antisense Pharma) is to host a satellite symposium at the Meeting with Dr M Weller speaking about “Targeting TGF-β in cancer”. Isarna has also expanded into the USA where it now has an office in New York.
NVP-BEZ235: Researchers experimenting with laboratory mice have concluded that “it may be possible to significantly improve glioblastoma therapy by combining ionizing radiation with potent and bioavailable DNA repair inhibitors such as NVP-BEZ235”.
Selinexor (KPT – 330): Karyopharm Therapeutics Inc has announced a Phase 2 trial of its compound KPT – 330 (an oral Selective Inhibitor of Nuclear Export (SINE) in GBM patients following radiation and temozolomide.
CTLA-4 blockade: Researchers from Zurich (Switzerland) are excited about the potential for “Combined intratumoral IL-12 application with systemic blockade of the co-inhibitory receptor CTLA-4 on T cells” and believe that their data “provide compelling preclinical findings warranting swift translation into clinical trials”.
Commercial research report: A report “Brain Tumor – Pipeline Review, H1 2014”, which examines nine companies and 19 brain tumor drug profiles is available for purchase from a commercial research company.
Oncolytics Biotech Inc: Professor Alan Melcher from Leeds (UK) presented at the 8th Annual International Conference on Oncolytic Virus Therapeutics held in Oxford, UK in April, and apparently outlined a trial of the Company’s Reolysin and GM-CSF in combination with chemoradiation following surgery for high grade gliomas.
Father and son with brain tumors: In March 2014 a twenty-four year old Marine in the USA learnt that his two year-old son had a brain tumour and has now been operated on. In April the father went to hospital after experiencing numbness in his body and now he tragically has also been diagnosed with a brain tumor.
Brain Tumour magazine: The IBTA’s annual Brain Tumour magazine will be posted by our distributors in the UK to our contacts in the next few weeks. It is 112 pages and has 59 articles, interviews, and news items. It also includes reports of last year’s Walk Aroundthe World for Brain Tumours and the International Brain Tumour Awareness Week which, this year, will be held during 26 October – 1 November. A summary article about the IBTA’s First World Summit for Brain Tumour Patient Advocates is also included (a fuller report of this event will be released soon) as well as a unique medulloblastoma timeline covering the period from the 1920s to the present day.
Denis Strangman: This issue of the IBTA’s E-News represents the last issue to which IBTA Chair Denis Strangman will contribute due to his retirement from the IBTA in early June. Denis would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have provided assistance, information and news “tips” to him during these past nine years and to wish his colleagues in the IBTA, including Kathy Oliver the incoming Chair, and all friends in the international brain tumour community, the best for the years ahead.
Kathy Oliver (Co-Director)
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