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IBTA e-News

The monthly bulletin for our
international brain tumour community

March 2017

New publications

IBTA’s ‘Brain Tumour’ magazine is coming soon

The IBTA’s free Brain Tumour magazine World Edition 2017/18 is soon due to be released. This year 14,000 copies will be printed and sent for free to recipients in 111 countries and widely distributed at international neuro-oncology and cancer conferences. This year’s edition includes inspiring personal stories from patients, a look at new international collaborations and research initiatives, features from the worldwide brain tumour community, a selection of articles written by leading experts, and more. If you don’t yet automatically receive a copy of Brain Tumour magazine please register on the IBTA website using this form. To read previous years’ editions online click here.

And don’t forget to organise and register your 2017 Walk Around the World for Brain Tumours and your activity for the 2017 International Brain Tumour Awareness Week (21 – 28 October). Click here for more information about these initiatives. Forms for registering your activities can be found here.

‘Cancer World’ magazine cover story: the past, present and future of brain tumour research

The March cover article and leading feature in Cancer World magazine explores how brain tumour research has evolved since the “new beginning” of temozolomide therapy more than a decade ago. Featuring interviews with a variety of leading clinicians and researchers, and including comment from the International Brain Tumour Alliance, the piece highlights the importance of international academic research collaborations. Read online.

Treatment news

Published clinical trial confirms that adding chemotherapy to radiotherapy improves survival in elderly newly diagnosed glioblastoma patients

Combined chemotherapy-radiotherapy can help extend the life of patients aged 65+ with newly diagnosed glioblastoma, compared to radiotherapy alone according to a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The phase III trial was originally presented at last June’s ASCO 2016 meeting and randomised 562 patients to receive temozolomide plus a short course of radiation therapy, or radiotherapy alone. As we reported in June 2016’s e-News, survival was extended by an average of two months (9.3 vs 7.6 months) with combined therapy, while a greater benefit was seen among 165 patients with methylated MGMT status (13.5 vs 7.7 months). Read more.

Changes to standard glioblastoma treatment protocol may extend survival, clinical trial shows

Findings from a phase II clinical trial, published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, have shown that modifying existing treatment timings, including giving temozolomide before radiotherapy (‘neo-adjuvant chemotherapy’), has extended survival for glioblastoma patients, compared to a standard protocol (22 vs. 16 months). Read more.

Treatment for ependymoma in children: study says proton-beam therapy is ‘comparable’ to intensity-modulated radiation therapy

In a retrospective analysis of 78 patients’ medical records over a 13 year period, research published in the journal Cancer has concluded that survival outcomes depended largely on the success of surgery, rather than whether the children were treated with proton-beam therapy (PRT) as opposed to (intensity-modulated) radiation therapy. As reported in Cancer Therapy Advisor: "Although 3-year progression-free survival rates were superior in the PRT group (82% vs 60%), the authors reasoned this was due to the higher gross total resection rate in the PRT group." Read more (quote from this source).

Research news

International research team propose new meningioma classification

Writing in The Lancet Oncology, an international team of researchers has devised a new classification for meningiomas, based on the epigenetic features (DNA-methylation) of the tumours, rather than their histological (microscopic) appearances, which is still the basis for the current WHO meningioma classification. Analysing the genetics of 806 tumours, the authors conclude that the proposed new classification better predicts the clinical progress of patients. Read more (full article requires subscription).

International consortium launched to develop new treatments for childhood brain tumours

Launched this month, The Children’s Brain Tumour Drug Delivery Consortium is an international collaboration that aims to explore novel drug delivery systems that can physically bypass the blood brain barrier. Led by Professor David Walker at The University of Nottingham, UK, the initiative has received two years' funding from the charity Children with Cancer UK, and among the consortium’s activities are to organise and host discussions of an international, multi-disciplinary network of clinicians and researchers. Read more.

Studies identify possible agents for treating DIPG brain tumours in children

Researchers have shown in Nature Medicine that a bromodomain inhibitor – a compound currently in studies for different types of advanced cancers – shrinks the paediatric brain tumour DIPG (diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma) in animal experiments. The compound targets the effects of a mutation (called H3K27M) that occurs in 80% of these tumours and the paper’s authors hope to open a Phase I clinical trial for the treatment by the end of 2017. Read more. A separate study, also published in Nature Medicine, has found that other agents – small-molecule EZH2 inhibitors – prevent DIPG tumour cell growth in lab studies by targeting an associated pathway. Read more (abstract).

Study identifies genetic risk factors for glioma and glioblastoma

Analysing DNA samples of 12,500 individuals with glioma and 18,000 without, an international consortium of researchers has conducted the largest study to date looking for genes that increase the risk of developing glioma tumours (including glioblastoma). The results, which appear in Nature Genetics, confirmed 13 previously identified markers and found 13 new genetic markers associated with these brain tumours, while also identifying specific differences in genetic susceptibility to glioblastoma and non-glioblastoma tumours. Read more.

No link between glioblastoma and cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection, research finds

A study published in Clinical Cancer Research has cast doubt on a theory that cytomegalovirus (CMV) could have a role in glioblastoma. CMV is a common virus that infects people of all ages, usually with few symptoms. This research analysed tumour tissue from 125 glioblastoma patients with a variety of highly sensitive technologies, and found no evidence of the virus in any of the tumours. Read more.

Study identifies gene that controls glioma growth and predicts survival

Published in Scientific Reports, a study has identified a gene (ZEB1) in glioma tumours that appears to control cancer stem cells (those cells believed to drive tumour growth). Genetic analysis of more than 4,000 brain tumours showed low-grade glioma patients with a mutated ZEB1 gene had an average 8.5-month shorter survival rate compared to those with the intact gene. Read more.

Research maps genetic landscape of glioblastoma tumours to explore how tumours evolve and offer treatment possibilities

An analysis of 127 glioblastoma samples, taken from different tumour regions and at different times from 52 patients, has revealed how the cell population can change genetically over time and how these changes can affect response to treatment, according to a paper published in Nature Genetics. Read more (free registration required for news item).

Brain tumour community news

May is ‘Brain Tumor Awareness Month’ in USA and Canada and ‘Brain Cancer Action Month’ in Australia

May is Brain Tumor Awareness Month in the USA and Canada, during which time fundraising, awareness-raising and advocacy events will be taking place across North America. This will be the second Brain Tumour Awareness Month in Canada taking place in May, and coincides with the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada celebrating its 35th anniversary. The organisation is calling for 35 municipalities to proclaim May as Brain Tumour Awareness Month, and/or 35 landmarks to light up to raise brain tumour awareness. If you would like to find out more about other ways to help Turn May Grey for Brain Tumour Awareness Month in Canada you can read more here.

In Australia, Brain Tumour Alliance Australia will be running events throughout ‘Brain Cancer Action Month’. You can find out about how to get involved and offer your support through many of the USA, Canada, and Australia-based brain tumour and cancer charities and organisations: on the IBTA website’s Alliance Page, an interactive map lists all organisations in these regions that are part of the IBTA community.

For the events taking place in May, the American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA) offer an online search tool to find fundraising events in your area (click here) and US National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS) will be holding their annual ‘Head to the Hill’ event on Capitol Hill, Washington DC, USA on 8-9 May. Patients, caregivers, family, friends, researchers and medical providers are invited to attend the two-day event, which has become a powerful vehicle to make sure that the voice of the brain tumour community is heard by the US government. The event includes a day of policy and advocacy training followed by a day to use those skills at Congressional meetings on Capitol Hill. Details are available here.

Ependymoma Awareness Day on May 8

This year’s Ependymoma Awareness Day will be held on May 8, 2017. Now in its sixth year, the international campaign, initiated by the CERN (Collaborative Ependymoma Research Network) Foundation, will commemorate the day with a mass butterfly release during the 2017 ‘Head to the Hill’ event (see above). Read more.

New online tool to help brain tumour patients find recruiting clinical trials

The National Brain Tumor Society (USA) has launched an online tool to help brain tumour patients more easily find clinical trials in which they may wish to enrol. The ‘Clinical Trial Finder’ uses data from the website and filters results to present those only relevant to brain tumours. Read more.

Company news

FDA Orphan Drug Designation granted to EnGeneIC’s ‘EDV nanocell’ therapy for glioblastoma

EnGeneIC has announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Orphan Drug Designation for their bacterially-derived ‘EDV nanocell’ therapy for glioblastoma, giving the company marketing exclusivity and opportunity to access additional funding and support. The ‘nanocells’ contain the chemotherapeutic drug doxorubicin and target the brain tumour cells by attaching to the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Read more (company press release).

Novocure’s second generation Optune approved for use in Japan

The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) has approved the ‘second generation’ Optune Tumour-Treating Fields device as a therapy for glioblastoma. The first-generation device (originally ‘NovoTTF-100A’) has been approved for use in Japan since January 2015 for recurrent glioblastoma and was approved for newly diagnosed glioblastoma in December 2016. Read more (company press release).

In other news...

All.Can report gives call to action for policy makers

A new report has been published by the All.Can group that looks at the need to improve efficiency in cancer care by focusing on patient outcomes. The All.Can initiative, of which the IBTA is a member, comprises leading representatives from patient organisations, policymakers, healthcare professionals, research and industry. The report brings together powerful examples across all aspects of cancer care where there is opportunity for greater efficiency – and a more patient-focused approach, with a call to action to policy makers. The All.Can initiative is made possible with financial support from Bristol-Myers Squibb (lead sponsor), Amgen and MSD (co-sponsors). Read more. Access the full report online here (under 'Publications').

Upcoming events

Together in Hope 2017
28-30 April 2017
Houston, Texas, USA

ABTA Partners in Treatment and Care Meeting
30 April 2017
Arlington, Virginia, USA

Head to the Hill 2017
8-9 May 2017
Washington, DC, USA
Ependymoma Awareness Day
8 May 2017
Washington, DC, USA
ABTA Partners in Treatment and Care Meeting
21 May 2017
Denver, Colorado, USA

Upcoming scientific conferences

AACR 108th Annual Meeting 2017
1-5 April 2017
Washington, DC, USA
EORTC 4th International Quality of Life and Cancer Clinical Trials Conference
20-21 April 2017
Brussels, Belgium
Neuroscience Update in Pediatric Neuro-Oncology - in memory of Dr Marnie Rose
22 April 2017
Houston, Texas, USA
85th AANS Annual Scientific Meeting: "Neurosurgery - A World of Innovation"
22-26 April 2017
Los Angeles, California, USA
The 5th Quadrennial Meeting of the World Federation of Neuro-Oncology Societies (WFNOS)
4-7 May 2017
Zurich, Switzerland
Braintumor Berlin 2017
18-19 May 2017
Berlin, Germany
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  


Tell us what you think!

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We will do our best to relay as much information as possible to our subscribers via this monthly newsletter and our website. The selection of e-News entries is at the sole discretion of the editors.
Copyright © 2017 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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