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IBTA e-News

The monthly bulletin for our
international brain tumour community

November 2015


Society for Neuro-Oncology Meeting 2015

The IBTA will be exhibiting at this year’s Society for Neuro-Oncology meeting (SNO 2015) from 19-22 November in San Antonio, Texas, USA – please stop by if you are attending.

The IBTA Second World Summit of Brain Tumour Patient Advocates

The IBTA’s second World Summit of Brain Tumour Patient Advocates took place from 25th to 27th October in Sitges, near Barcelona, Spain. The Summit coincided with the annual International Brain Tumour Awareness Week and was attended by over 70 participants from 27 countries. A full report of the Summit is currently being written and will be publicly available on the IBTA’s website soon at and at

The two-day Summit programme included plenaries, discussion groups and workshops covering a wide range of topics, including: promising therapies; surgical approaches; research priorities; regional variations and inequities in access; quality of life; plus a host of practical sessions addressing such topics as political lobbying to improve brain tumour outcomes, caring for the carers, legal and branding aspects of patient organisations, presentation skills for patient advocates, social media, etc. In addition, the existing Brain Tumour Patients’ Charter of Rights was discussed with a view to updating this document to aid in future collective advocacy efforts at international, regional and national levels. We thank all of our Summit sponsors for their generous financial support of this highly successful conference.

Clinical Trial News

Global alliance formed to develop new clinical trial for glioblastoma

An international coalition of over 100 scientists, clinicians and patient advocates have come together to establish GBM AGILE (Adaptive, Global, Innovative Learning Environment) with the aim of pooling knowledge, resources and ideas to develop a new type of ‘adaptive’ clinical trial (which is driven by Bayesian statistics and molecular markers) for treating glioblastoma. Performed using a "master protocol", the trial will take place across the USA, China, Australia and Europe, and will start enrolling patients by mid-2016. Dr Timothy Cloughesy (GBM AGILE Principal Investigator) said: “The adaptive design will allow us to modify the trial as it proceeds based on the data collected – and to do it faster." Read more (press release).

Clinical trial of Toca 511 combined with Toca FC now recruiting recurrent glioblastoma and anaplastic astrocytoma patients

A phase 2/3 trial of Toca 511, a virus that carries a gene into tumour cells, combined with Toca FC, a drug that targets the modified tumour cells, is currently recruiting patients with recurrent glioblastoma and anaplastic astrocytoma who are undergoing planned surgery. Read more: Tocagen website,

Research roundup

Ultrasound breaches blood-brain barrier allowing chemotherapy to enter brain

It is reported that a technique being trialled at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Canada, uses an injection of gas-filled microbubbles combined with focused ultrasound to temporarily open the blood-brain barrier, allowing a chemotherapy agent (doxorubicin) to enter the brain that would otherwise not penetrate the barrier. Read more.

Cerebrospinal fluid could be used as ‘liquid biopsy’ to monitor and diagnose brain tumours

Findings from a research team led by Prof Joan Seoane [of the Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology in Barcelona, Spain) and published in Nature Communications has shown that cerebrospinal fluid samples (such as those obtained through lumbar puncture) contain concentrations of brain tumour DNA that are sufficiently high to potentially aid diagnosis and treatment. Read more.

Breast cancer susceptibility gene (BRCA1) predicts survival in glioblastoma

A gene known to increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer (breast cancer type 1 susceptibility gene, BRCA1) has been linked to worse overall survival in glioblastoma patients, according to data presented at the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) 57th annual meeting in San Antonio,Texas, USA . Glioblastoma patients with high BRCA1 protein expression were found to have a median survival of 4.8 months, compared with 18.9 months for those with low expression. Read more.

Research identifies risk factors for seizures in childhood brain tumour patients

Published in Epilepsia, a study looking at 298 paediatric brain tumour patients, who were at least two years post diagnosis, has identified various factors that appear to increase the risk for seizures. Factors linked to increased risk include: a low grade astrocytoma or dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumour (DNET), a tumour in the cerebral cortex or temporal region, and 30Gy or greater radiation therapy. Read more.

Everolimus an effective long term treatment for tuberous sclerosis brain tumour

Subependymal Giant Cell Astrocytoma, a non-malignant tumour that occurs in up to 20% of individuals with tuberous sclerosis, can be treated with long term everolimus according to findings presented at the annual meeting of the Child Neurology Society, National Harbor, Maryland, USA. Everolimus (a signal transduction inhibitor commonly used in kidney cancer treatment) was found to be effective in 57.7% of the four year phase III trial participants taking the drug, with the number of adverse drug effects declining over time. Read more.

Case study shows dabrafenib shrinks craniopharyngioma

Doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital-Cancer Center, USA, have published a case study of a 39 year old man with a recurrent papillary craniopharyngioma who has responded to treatment with dabrafenib (a BRAF inhibitor) - the first clinical example of successful systemic treatment for this type of tumour. The paper reports that the BRAF mutation present in the tumour was detectable in the blood, a “result that was absolutely novel," said a co-author of the paper. Read more

Metastatic brain tumours reverse gene expression changes when they spread to other organs

A study published in Nature has found that metastatic brain tumours lose PTEN expression, a key tumour suppressor, while in the brain; but that PTEN function is restored when the tumour leaves the brain. Dr. Dihua Yu, one of the paper’s authors said, “Our findings demonstrate a remarkable plasticity of PTEN expression in metastatic tumour cells in response to different organ environments”. Read more.

Metformin boosts temozolomide in glioma treatment, research suggests

Research on glioma in tissue-based and mouse-based research has found that the diabetes drug metformin works together with temozolomide to inhibit glioma growth, greater than if temozolomide is given alone. Read more (open access paper).

Computer simulation discovers molecule that prevents glioblastoma growth

Researchers from the University of California, San Diego, USA, have successfully used computer 3D modelling software to find a molecule from the Open National Cancer Institute Database that inhibits glioblastoma growth when tested in cell-based and mouse experiments. Published in Oncotarget, the identified compound inhibits OLIG2 transcription factor – a protein within glioblastoma cells that is essential for tumour growth. Read more.

Two molecular subtypes of recurrent glioblastoma identified

Research published in PLoS ONE has analysed the genetic differences between primary and recurrent glioblastoma, identifying two distinct types of recurrent tumour (G1 and G2). G1 tumours have the same gene expression as the primary tumour whereas G2 are genetically different, potentially explaining why drug resistance occurs in some recurrent tumours. Read more (full research paper).

Study finds class of drug that may enhance oncolytic virus replication in glioma cells

Oncolytic viral (OV) therapy, an experimental therapy using genetically engineered tumour-targeting viruses, may be enhanced through inhibition of histone deacetylase 6, a study published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation reports. Mouse and lab-based experiments found that inhibiting histone deacetylase 6, via drug or genetic methods, increased OV replication within tumour cells, leading to increased tumour cell destruction. Read more.

‘Differentiated’ glioblastoma cells could turn into ‘Cancer Stem Cells’, study suggests

Research published in the International Journal of Cancer compared the characteristics of cancer stem cells (CSCs) with other ‘differentiated’ tumour cells. CSCs are thought to drive tumour growth and can self-renew, while differentiated cells are believed to make up the bulk of the tumour. Both cell types responded similarly to temozolomide and radiation exposure, but the researchers also observed in mice that under certain conditions the differentiated cells could transform into CSCs. Read more (abstract).

Mapping brain tumours with new molecularly-targeted MRI technique

Researchers from the University of Oxford have developed an MRI technique to map the edges of invasive brain tumours, rather than just the bulk of the tumour, potentially improving surgery and radiotherapy accuracy. Presenting their findings at the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Cancer Conference, Liverpool, UK, the research team has created a dye containing microparticles of iron oxide (MPIO) that localise to VCAM-1, a protein found on the inside of blood vessels at the invasive edge of tumours. Read more (with video).

Additional temozolomide chemotherapy immediately after surgery may improve survival in newly-diagnosed glioblastoma patients

Published in the Chinese Medical Journal, a randomised trial of 99 newly-diagnosed glioblastoma patients has shown that giving temozolomide immediately after surgery increased survival, when compared to a standard protocol of waiting four weeks until starting combined temozolomide and radiation therapy (17.6 months vs. 13.2 months). However, the authors state that "a larger randomised trial is warranted to verify these results”. Read more (open access paper).

Treatment news

Trial results: ‘intermediate-risk’ meningioma patients have good three-year outcome with radiation therapy

Patients with ‘intermediate-risk’ meningioma who are treated with radiation therapy after surgery experience a 96 percent three-year progression-free survival rate with minimal adverse events, according to research presented at the ASTRO 57th Annual Meeting. This is the first analysis of the RTOG 0539 trial, which recruited 244 meningioma patients from the US and Canada. Read more.

Radiation therapy in children with ependymoma linked to better outcomes

Immediate post-operative radiation therapy in children with ependymoma is associated with better survival than would be expected historically, according to data from The Children's Oncology Group ACNS0121 trial as presented at the ASTRO (American Society for Radiation Oncology) 57th Annual Meeting. “Gross total resection is the cornerstone of treatment, as this doubles your chance of cure,” said Assoc. Prof. Sammer Keole MD, adding that these data show that infants as young as 12 months can feasibly be given radiation therapy. Read more.

UK ‘HeadSmart’ campaign and new clinical guidelines reduce childhood brain tumour diagnosis time

Average diagnosis time for childhood brain tumours in the UK has fallen from 14 weeks to 6.7 weeks in two years following the introduction of a national awareness campaign (HeadSmart: Be Brain Tumour Aware) in 2011 and the publishing of clinical diagnosis guidelines for healthcare professionals in 2010. The awareness campaign is to be re-launched in 2016. Read more.

‘Video games’ may help improve cognitive abilities of childhood brain tumour survivors

A randomised controlled trial of 68 children with a brain tumour or acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (with brain involvement) has shown that verbal and visual exercises that looked like video games significantly improved attention, processing speed and working memory. The training ranged from 20 to 30 sessions, with each session lasting between 30 and 45 minutes. Read more.

Brain tumour community news

UK residents & British citizens: sign an e-petition to put brain tumours on the government agenda

In August 2015 an e-petition calling for more brain tumour research was initiated by Maria Realf, whose brother died of a brain tumour last year aged 26 (see her article in the Mail on Sunday newspaper). Over 30,000 people have already signed up, and the UK’s House of Commons Petitions Committee has decided to look into the issue. 100,000 signatures will force brain tumour research to be considered for debate in Parliament. Make your vote count by signing the e-petition here (Closes 3 Feb 2016).

Two USA nonprofits co-fund paediatric medulloblastoma blood test research

The Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation and Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (ABC2) have announced that they are co-funding research into ‘immunosignature’ blood testing techniques that is intended to aid detecting, classifying and monitoring paediatric medulloblastoma. This technology analyses changes in the immune system as it tries to attack the brain tumour. Read more.

And in other news...

Former US President Jimmy Carter still building homes despite brain tumour treatment

It is reported that 91 year old former President Jimmy Carter is continuing with his normal schedule despite his recent treatments for metastatic brain tumours, which were diagnosed in August 2015. He is presently working as a volunteer to help build homes for families in need and intends to continue his charitable work in Nepal. Read more.

Upcoming conferences and events

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

Call for Abstracts - deadline January 22, 2016

17th International Symposium on Pediatric Neuro-Oncology (ISPNO 2016)
12-15 June 2016
Liverpool, United Kingdom
To submit an abstract click here


20th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuro-Oncology (SNO 2015)
19-22 November 2015
San Antonio, Texas, USA
A full day neuro-oncology review course will be taking place on 18 November, immediately before the SNO meeting. Read more..

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!

We love to hear from you if you have any news that you would like to share with the IBTA community. Just send us an email:
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 © 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. 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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