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IBTA e-News

The monthly bulletin for our
international brain tumour community

April 2015

Brain tumour community news

Denis Lacombe appointed new EORTC Director General

The European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) has announced that Dr Denis Lacombe has been appointed Director General. We are delighted for Dr Lacombe and wish him every success in his new role. We look forward to working with him while also extending our heartfelt thanks to the previous Director General, Dr Françoise Meunier, for her many outstanding achievements during her long stewardship of the organisation. Read more.

Neurosurgeon and brain tumour researcher Dr Andrew Parsa dies

It is with great sadness that we report the death of Dr Andrew Parsa, chairman of neurological surgery at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, USA. A distinguished neurosurgeon, scholar and researcher, Dr Parsa unexpectedly passed away on April 13th, aged 48. His work and commitment to brain tumour research is internationally renowned and he will be greatly missed. Our sympathies go out to Dr Parsa's family, friends, and colleagues. Read more.

Brain tumour expert announced as chair for UK cancer research centre

Paediatric brain tumour specialist, Professor Richard Gilbertson, has been appointed as the next Li Ka Shing Chair of Oncology in Cambridge and Director of the Cambridge Cancer Centre, UK, from August 2015. Gilbertson is presently at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, USA, as the Scientific and Comprehensive Cancer Centre Director, Executive Vice President, Director of the Division of Brain Tumour Research, and holds the Lillian R. Cannon Endowed Chair. Read more.

Treatment news

In search of evidence-based treatment for elderly glioblastoma patients

In this month’s JAMA Oncology, an analysis of treatments for elderly glioblastoma patients has found evidence for use of temozolomide monotherapy or hypofractionated radiotherapy. The analysis also finds that elderly patients with MGMT promoter methylated tumours may have greater benefit from temozolomide over radiotherapy. The authors of this systematic review note a need for more good-quality clinical trials. Read more.

Another systematic review of trials in elderly glioblastoma patients, published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology • Biology • Physics (Red Journal), found that hypofractionated and standard fractionated radiotherapy had similar overall survival in patients receiving temozolomide, although a randomised trial is needed to make a direct comparison. Read more (abstract).

Study shows better survival in glioblastoma patients who have second resection at progression

Published in World Neurosurgery, a retrospective analysis of outcomes of 98 progressive glioblastoma patients has shown that a second operation at progression is linked to a longer survival (18.9 months vs 14.8 months). Read more (abstract).

Low-grade glioma patients have better seizure control after chemotherapy and radiotherapy, study concludes

A systematic review of seizure control after low-grade glioma anti-tumour treatment has found that both chemotherapy and radiotherapy result in fewer seizures – even if MRI scans are unchanged. Published in Neuro-Oncology, the authors conclude that seizure reduction could serve as a marker of tumour response to treatment in these patients. Read more (abstract).

Five proton beam therapy centres to be built in UK

Proton beam therapy is a technology designed to minimise unwanted tissue damage associated with other forms of radiation therapy and is prescribed for some types of brain tumour. A newly-formed company, Proton Partners International Ltd., has announced that they plan to open the first proton beam therapy centre in the UK. Three centres will be built in Cardiff, London and Northumberland, the first of which is due to open in 2017. Read more. These facilities will be in addition to the two proton beam therapy centres that the UK Department of Health is building at University College Hospital, London, and The Christie, Manchester, UK, that are due to be operational in 2018. Read more (watch video).

Research roundup

‘Mitochondrial smart bomb’ developed to target brain tumours

A drug that is designed to selectively target mitochondria within malignant glioma cells has been developed by researchers in Houston, Texas, USA. The compound, called MP-MUS, binds to mitochondrial MAO-B - an enzyme that is more present in glioma cells - where it is converted from a ‘pro-drug’ into an active drug that is toxic to the cell. A further animal-based study of the drug is due to be published. Read more.

Key enzymes identified that allow glioblastoma cells to grow

Research published in Nature identifies cellular processes (glycine and serine metabolism) that are crucial for allowing glioblastoma cells to survive in brain regions that have poor oxygen supply. Researchers found that inhibiting the enzyme SHMT2 (mitochondrial serine hydroxymethyltransferase) causes a subset of glioblastoma to be more susceptible to damage and could be a target for future treatments. Read more.

Epilepsy drug sulfasalazine may sharpen Gamma Knife

A study published in Oncogene suggests that sulfasalazine may improve the effectiveness of Gamma Knife radiosurgery in glioblastoma. Experiments on glioma tissue and rats suggest that the drug sensitises tumour cells to this type of radiotherapy. Read more (abstract).

Gold nanoparticles designed that will ‘turn off’ glioblastoma cells

A Spherical Nucleic Acid (SNA) gold nanoparticle coated in an mRNA molecule (miR-182) that silences specific genes within glioblastoma cells has been developed and tested on mice, according to research published in Genes and Development. The experiments showed the SNA particles successfully crossed the blood-brain barrier and led to tumour cell death. Read more.

IBTA news

2015 Walk Around the World for Brain Tumours - Registering and Reporting your Walk

Many thanks to all those organisations around the globe who have already let us know about the walks taking place throughout this year and who have registered with us to donate their symbolic mileage to the IBTA’s "Walk Around the World for Brain Tumours". We look forward to receiving more registrations.  We also want to hear all about those walks that have already taken place since January and to receive the symbolic mileage ‘donation’ from these.  Please visit the IBTA website where you will find a form for registering and/or reporting your walk, plus information on where to send photographs. We’re very much hoping to beat last year’s magnificent achievement of raising awareness of brain tumours by encircling the world nearly 13 times!

Patient advocacy news

Brain tumour advocates are ‘Heading to the Hill’

The National Brain Tumor Society (USA) will be holding their annual advocacy event, ‘Head to the Hill’, in Washington, DC, USA on 4 - 5 May 2015. The two day event will offer advocacy training and legislative visits on Capitol Hill. Find out more here.

Countdown to the USA’s Brain Tumour Awareness Month

May is brain tumour awareness month in the USA when fundraising and awareness-raising  events will take place nationwide. You can find out about how to get involved and offer your support through many of the US-based brain tumour and cancer charities and organisations. A list of support, advocacy and information organisations from around the world can be found on the IBTA website here.

Sir Martin Narey to become Chair of The Brain Tumour Charity

The Brain Tumour Charity (UK) has announced that their new Chair of Trustees is Sir Martin Narey, former Chief Executive of the charity Barnardo’s and ex-Director General of the Prison Service in England and Wales. Read more.

Brain Tumour Society (Singapore) founder wins Inspirational Patient and Caregiver Award

Melissa Lim, founder of the Brain Tumour Society (Singapore) and a brain tumour survivor, was one of 23 patients who were recognised in the Singapore Inspirational Patient and Caregiver Award 2015. Organised by the SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre, the award pays tribute to individuals who have shown courage, resilience and positivity. Read more.

Policies and guidelines news

First Indian guidelines for childhood brain tumour patients released

The Indian Society of Neuro-Oncology (ISNO) has published guidelines for the treatment of paediatric brain tumours. Specifically tailored to India’s patient demographics, genetics and the available resources, the guidelines were released at ISNO’s recent annual conference in Kochi, India. Read more.

Company news

Survival data on personalised immunotherapy DCVax-L for glioblastoma patients reported

Northwest Biotherapeutics, Inc., has announced the survival data for 51 glioblastoma patients treated with DCVax-L, showing a better-than-expected outcome. These patients were due to be part of an ongoing phase III trial of the treatment but had early tumour regrowth after standard therapies (resection and 6 weeks of chemo-radiotherapy). Read more (press release).

Improved survival in recurrent glioblastoma with VB-111 combined with bevacizumab (Avastin) compared to bevacizumab alone, phase II data shows

Interim results from an ongoing phase 2 study demonstrated that patients with recurrent glioblastoma who received VB-111 alone and subsequently with bevacizumab achieved significantly improved OS [overall survival] compared with patients who received VB-111 followed by bevacizumab monotherapy. Read more.

Novocure’s NovoTTF-100A ('Optune') now approved for use in Japan

The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) has approved the NovoTTF-100A system for use in recurrent glioblastoma. Designed to be worn continuously and emitting a low intensity, alternating electrical field, NovoTTF-100A has previously been approved for use in the USA (branded as 'Optune'), European Union, Switzerland, Australia and Israel. Read more (company press release).

Orphan drug designation for Nascent Biotech’s Pritumumab

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted orphan drug designation for Pritumumab, an antibody-based glioblastoma treatment developed by Nascent Biotech Inc. The drug has a reported response rate of 25-30% (company website) in phase II trials in Japan. Read more.

And in other news...

Phase I poliovirus trial gets prime time coverage

The progress and recovery of three clinical study volunteers in an ongoing phase I trial of a genetically engineered poliovirus treatment for glioblastoma were featured in the US television programme ’60 minutes’ (29th March). The entire show can be watched online and an independent critique of the coverage can be read here.

Teenage brain tumour survivor now lives the basketball dream

Five years ago, Kevin Massey was diagnosed with a brain tumour while a school student in Kentucky, USA. Given a prognosis of ‘months’, he was visited in hospital by John Calipari, coach of his favourite basketball team, the Kentucky Wildcats. Now 20, Kevin works as a student-manager for the team and says Calipari’s visit gave him a reason to live. In recent interviews, he talks of his journey. Read more. Watch video.

Upcoming conferences in May

Keep up to date with future scientific conferences and events on the IBTA website conferences page here. Below are a selection of forthcoming events:

83rd AANS Annual Scientific Meeting: “Neurosurgery’s Founding Principles”
2-6 May 2015
Washington, DC, USA

3rd Biennial Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Basic and Translational Science Conference
7-8 May 2015
San Diego, California, USA

IV Congresso Internacional de Neuro-Oncologia (2nd Satellite SNOLA Meeting)
8-9 May 2015
Sao Paulo, Brazil

Advances in Brain Cancer Research
27-30 May 2015
Washington, DC, USA

Braintumor Berlin 2015
28-29 May 2015
Berlin, Germany

2015 ASCO Annual Meeting
29 May – 2 June 2015
Chicago, Illinois, USA

If you are aware of a brain tumour-relevant conference - including any patient conferences that we have not yet listed on the IBTA website then please let us know.


April call for abstracts

18th ECCO-40th ESMO European Cancer Congress: Reinforcing Multidisciplinarity
25-29 September 2015
Vienna, Austria
Abstract deadline: 28th April 2015. Read more.

15th Interim Meeting of the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies (WFNS)
8-12 September 2015
Rome, Italy
Abstract deadline: 30th April 2015. Read more.
Educational grants for young neurosurgeons available: deadline 30th April. Read more.

IBTA Website
IBTA Website


Who we are

The International Brain Tumour Alliance was established in 2005. It is a network of support, advocacy and information groups representing brain tumour patients and carers in different countries and also includes researchers, scientists, clinicians and allied health professionals who work in the field of brain tumours.
For more information, please visit  


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Copyright © 2015 The International Brain Tumour Alliance, All rights reserved.


The International Brain Tumour Alliance (IBTA) makes every effort to be accurate regarding the information contained in this e-News (or in any documents, reports, notes or other material produced for and on behalf of the IBTA to which we provide a link in this e-News).  However, the IBTA accepts no liability for any inaccuracies or omissions herein nor can it accept liability for any loss or damage resulting from any inaccuracy in this information or third party information such as information on websites to which we link. The information contained in this e-News is for educational purposes only and should in no way be taken as a substitute for medical care nor is the information on the IBTA website meant to constitute medical advice or professional services. For medical care and advice, please contact your doctor.

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