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IBTA e-News

The monthly bulletin for our
international brain tumour community

May 2016

Headline news

World Health Organisation updates central nervous system tumour classification

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has published an updated classification of central nervous system tumours, setting a new standard for brain tumour research, diagnosis and communication between different centers around the world. The revised fifth edition of the classification is a major update to the existing 2007 classification and brings the naming and grouping of brain tumours into line with current scientific understanding and technology. For the first time it combines the genetic information of brain tumours with their microscopic (histological) appearance. It is hoped that the new classification will allow clinical trials to be structured in ways that reflect the molecular profile of a brain tumour and aid in analysis of preclinical research, allowing effective targeted treatments to be found more easily. Read more (IBTA website).

Brain Tumour Magazine 2016 / 2017 available online from 8th June

The 2016 / 2017 edition of the IBTA’s Brain Tumour magazine will be available for viewing online via the IBTA website from 8th June. It contains news items, interviews, stories from patients, caregivers and patient advocacy organisations, and includes reports from the IBTA’s two awareness raising activities: The Walk Around the World for Brain Tumours campaign and International Brain Tumour Awareness Week. This issue also contains extensive excerpts from the Report of the IBTA's Second World Summit of Brain Tumour Patient Advocates, held last year in Spain. 13,000 print copies are to be distributed for free worldwide to IBTA supporters and contacts in 113 countries. The magazine will also be widely distributed at international neuro-oncology and cancer conferences.

2016 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting abstracts now available online

On 18th May, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) published thousands of scientific abstracts on their website, including those for the forthcoming ASCO annual meeting on 3rd – 7th June 2016. These important research summaries can be browsed and searched via the ASCO website portal (for abstracts concerning central nervous system tumours click here, for brain metastases click here). The annual meeting, to be held at McCormick Place, Chicago, Illinois, USA, will be attended by over 30,000 cancer specialists from around the world. For those unable to attend, a Virtual Meeting pass can be purchased, giving access to videos and podcasts from more than 150 sessions.

Research news

FDA Breakthrough Designation awarded to poliovirus-based immunotherapy for recurrent glioblastoma

In news that received widespread media coverage, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given “breakthrough designation” to a poliovirus-based brain tumour immunotherapy, PVS-RIPO, for the treatment of recurrent glioblastoma. The designation was supported by results from an ongoing phase I trial and is designed to speed the process by which promising new treatments are evaluated and approved by the FDA. (Read more). In response to the FDA announcement and some confusion arising from the media’s use of the term “breakthrough designation”, the National Brain Tumor Society (US) has published a blog article that clarifies the significance of the news here.

‘Fractionated’ brain tumour radiation therapy may cause as much white matter damage as conventional single dose radiation therapy, study reports

Research published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics, has concluded that giving radiation therapy in ‘fractionated’ doses, rather than as a single larger dose, does not spare white matter from the late effects of radiation damage. In experiments on mice, the researchers found that oligodendrocyte progenitor cells, which normally divide in the adult brain and are responsible for producing the myelin coating around neurons, are damaged by radiation and divide more rapidly following radiation therapy, thus making them more susceptible to subsequent doses. Read more.

Targeted cytomegalovirus therapy combined with tetanus booster shows improved survival in phase 2 glioblastoma trials

Clinical trial results presented at the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) 84th Annual Meeting, held 30th April - 4th May at Chicago, Illinois, USA, have shown that treatment with a cytomegalovirus (CMV) pp65 dendritic cell (DC) vaccine is linked to better than expected survival in glioblastoma patients. Based on the previous research showing that cytomegalovirus proteins are found within glioblastoma tumours, the targeted vaccine was given following a ‘preconditioning’ tetanus booster. Expanded phase 2 trials are presently underway to validate the results. Read more.

Large study finds no link between mobile phone use and brain tumours, while rat study suggests radiofrequency radiation may increase brain tumour risk

An Australian study published in Cancer Epidemiology has examined the incidence of brain tumours in nearly 35,000 men and women between 1982 and 2012, to find out whether increased rates of brain tumour diagnosis are related to mobile phone use. Using mobile phone usage data from 1987, the study found that the increased rate of brain tumour diagnosis in patients over the age of 70 did not correlate with the steep increase in mobile phone usage and could be attributed to improved diagnostic procedures and scanning technology. Read more. A separate report published on the bioRxiv website has found that a proportion of 540 rats exposed to 'whole body' mobile phone radiation for nine hours a day for two years developed brain tumours. In the study, that is still awaiting peer review, 11 rats developed malignant gliomas and 19 rats developed schwannomas in the heart, while no rats in the control group developed tumours. Read more.

Dogs and humans share genes for glioma, study shows

A study of 25 dog breeds, some of which have considerably higher brain tumour risk, has found that variations in specific genes associated with dog glioma may also have a role in human brain tumour formation. Published in PLOS Genetics, of the three candidate genes identified (DENR, P2RX7 and CAMKK2), CAMKK2 was found to have reduced expression in both canine and human brain tumours. Read more. (A short interview with one of the study’s authors is available here).

Sleep hormone melatonin suppresses glioblastoma stem cell growth, study finds

Research published in the Journal of Pineal Research has found that the sleep regulating hormone melatonin directly targets and prevents the growth of glioblastoma stem cells – the cells within a tumour mass that are thought to drive tumour growth. The authors suggest that melatonin may serve as a potential glioblastoma therapy. Read more.

Study finds that OSMR gene is critical in glioblastoma formation

A study published in Nature Neuroscience has shown from experiments in mice that a protein called OSMR (Oncostatin M Receptor) is crucial for glioblastoma formation. Looking at 339 tumour samples from human glioblastoma patients, the researchers also found that higher OSMR expression was linked to poorer survival. OSMR was found to work alongside another known tumour-forming gene EGFRvIII and that by knocking down the OSMR gene in the mice, glioblastoma tumours did not form. Read more.

Glioblastoma subtypes develop in different brain regions, research finds

An analysis of images from 217 glioblastoma patients has shown that distinct subtypes of glioblastoma tend to arise in different brain regions. The study, published in Oncotarget, finds that proneural and neural glioblastoma subtypes tend to occur closer to the subventricular zone (SVZ), a region of the brain situated in the walls of the lateral ventricles, whereas mesenchymal and classical glioblastoma subtypes tend to develop farther from this region. These findings may help explain how the same cancer-causing mutations can give rise to different glioblastoma subtypes. Read more.

Study examines outcomes in elderly meningioma patients undergoing surgery

Also presented at the AANS annual meeting, results from a statistical analysis of 1,568 meningioma patients has found that 80 years old appears to be the cut off for significantly increased morbidity and mortality with surgical treatment. The study found that death within 30 days of surgery was up to 15 times higher in patients over 80 (8.6 percent), compared to younger groups. Read more.

Company news

ImmunoCellular Therapeutics secures approval for ICT-107 phase 3 trial in Canada, the UK and The Netherlands

Regulatory authorities in Canada, the United Kingdom and The Netherlands have granted approval for a phase 3 trial of ICT-107, a dendritic cell-based immunotherapy, in newly diagnosed glioblastoma patients, ImmunoCellular Therapeutics has announced. The treatment is already approved for clinical trials in the US and previous phase 2 results (company press release) of ICT-107 had demonstrated a statistically significant progression-free survival and overall survival benefit in a subgroup of patients. Read more (company press release).

Triphase Accelerator Corporation announces expanded collaboration with Celgene: two new glioblastoma trials to be launched

Increased collaboration between Triphase Accelerator Corporation and Celgene will lead to a Phase 2 study using marizomib (MRZ) as monotherapy in recurrent glioblastoma, and a Phase 1b trial of MRZ in combination with temozolomide and radiation therapy in newly diagnosed glioblastoma, according to a company announcement. Read more (company press release).

NeoOnc Technologies initiates phase 1/2a trial of NEO100 in recurrent glioblastoma

A phase 1/2a trial of NEO100 (perillyl alcohol) has started to recruit recurrent glioblastoma patients in the USA, NeoOnc Technologies has announced. Perillyl alcohol is isolated from various botanicals. According to previous research there has been limited effect in human cancer patients when perillyl alcohol is given in tablet form despite encouraging animal-based results. But NEO100 is a highly purified formulation of perillyl alcohol given via nasal inhalation. Read more (company press release).

Community news

Brain Tumor Awareness Month in USA sees record numbers take part

A wide variety of events and activities took place this month in the United States as part of the country’s Brain Tumor Awareness Month. A small selection of these events include: Ependymoma Awareness Day on 2nd May with a butterfly release in Washington DC, which coincided with the National Brain Tumor Society’s Head to the Hill training and advocacy event (2nd - 3rd May); the Nick Gonzales Foundation’s 9th Annual Golf Tournament took place on 6th May in The Colony, Texas; the American Brain Tumor Association’s (ABTA) BT5K Michigan Breakthrough for Brain Tumors Run & Walk on 7th May, and the Head for the Cure 5k race in Plano, Texas, on 7th May. There were a great many more events supporting brain tumour awareness. 

Race for Hope DC raises over $2 million for brain tumour research

Race for Hope DC, an annual 5 km run/walk held in Washington DC, USA, took place on 1st May 2016, raising over $2 million to benefit Accelerate Brain Cancer (ABC2) and the National Brain Tumor Society. The event saw more than 11,000 runners, walkers, brain tumour survivors and volunteers take part and was attended by US Vice President Joe Biden and his family. Vice President Biden's son Beau died of a brain tumour last year. Read more here (ABC2 website) and here (National Brain Tumor website).

Brain Tumor Action Week in Australia

The Australian Brain Cancer Action Week took place from 1st - 7th May, and saw various outreach, educational events and fund-raising activities  scheduled across the country. Events were organised by Brain Tumour Alliance Australia (summary here), Cancer Council NSW and Cure Brain Cancer Foundation, among others.

New brain tumour tissue biobank in Ireland

A new brain tumour tissue biobank has been established by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RSCI), with support from patient organisation Brain Tumour Ireland, which has the aim of helping to advance individualised treatment research and to increase survival rates in brain tumour patients. Facilitated through Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, all brain tumour patients in Ireland will now be given the opportunity to have their tissue included in the biobank. Read more.

Conferences: call for abstracts

CNS Anticancer Drug Discovery and Development Conference
November 16 - 17, 2016 (Immediately before the Society for Neuro-Oncology annual meeting)
Fairmont Princess Hotel, Scottsdale, Arizona
Abstract submission deadline: 20 June, 2016Click here

European Cancer Conference (ECCO) 2017
27-30 January 2017
Madrid, Spain
Abstract submission deadline: 25 August, 2016 – Click here

Travel scholarships available

Society for Neuro-Oncology Annual Meeting (SNO 2016) Travel Scholarship: 1st July deadline
Seven travel scholarships of $1,500 (USD) are available for applicants from selected low-income or developing countries to attend the 21st Annual Scientific Meeting and Education Day of the Society for Neuro-Oncology ( SNO 2015), to be held 17th-22nd November, 2016, at the Fairmont Princess Hotel in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA. Read more.

Upcoming events


2016 ASCO Annual Meeting
3-7 June 2016
Chicago, Illinois, USA

17th International Symposium on Pediatric Neuro-Oncology (ISPNO 2016)
12-15 June 2016
Liverpool, United Kingdom

1st International Meeting on Meningioma
17-18 June 2016
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

18th Annual Meeting of the Brain Tumor Epidemiology Consortium (BTEC 2016): Immunefactors and viral interactions in brain cancer etiology and outcomes
21-23 June 2016
Barcelona, Spain

British Neuro-Oncology Society (BNOS) Conference 2016
29 June – 1 July 2016
Leeds, United Kingdom


24th Biennial Congress of the European Association for Cancer Research (EACR 24)
9-12 July 2016
Manchester, United Kingdom

Keep up to date with future scientific conferences and events on the IBTA website conferences page here. 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.

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 © 2016 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. Inclusion of clinical trial news does not imply the IBTA’s particular endorsement or not of any trial.

Other websites linked from the IBTA e-News are not under the control of the IBTA. Therefore we take no responsibility for their content. The IBTA has provided these links as a convenience to you and can in no way verify the information, quality, safety or suitability of linked websites.

Any company sponsorship of the IBTA's projects does not imply the IBTA's endorsement of any particular form or forms of therapy, treatment regimen or behaviour. (For further details of our sponsors, please see our Sponsorship Policy).

The views and opinions in the materials included in this e-News may not necessarily be those of the International Brain Tumour Alliance.

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