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IBTA e-news

The monthly bulletin for our
international brain tumour community

October 2014

Treatment news

Transplant drug may improve glioblastoma treatments

The drug rapamycin has, until now, been largely used in transplant patients to prevent organ rejection. Research published in Molecular Cell Therapeutics now suggests that it could also be used to improve the effectiveness of new gene therapies or immunotherapy treatments for glioblastomas. Read more.

Cochrane review: ‘Insufficient evidence’ for antiangiogenic therapies in newly diagnosed glioblastoma

Analysis by the Cochrane Collaboration  of all published randomised controlled trials for antiangiogenic treatments (including bevacizumab, cediranib and cilengitide) in high grade glioma has concluded that there is insufficient evidence to support the use of antiangiogenic therapy in patients with newly diagnosed GBM on the basis of effects on survival. Read more.

Research roundup

Scorpion venom ‘tumour paint’ approved for clinical testing

A fluorescent ‘paint’, derived from scorpion venom, has been approved by the FDA for Phase I testing in brain tumour patients. Designed to visually illuminate cancer cells during surgery, the product is hoped to aid surgeons in achieving more complete brain tumour resections Read more.

Study shows that potential glioblastoma drug AZD8055 is ‘highly effective’ in animals

Animal and cell-based experiments published in Clinical Cancer Research have shown that the prospective drug AZD8055 blocks glioblastoma growth when combined with existing chemotherapeutic agents. Read more.

Normal child brain growth molecule linked to paediatric tumours

Research published in Developmental Cell has shown that a cell surface protein, Boc, is implicated in medulloblastoma growth. Involved in early brain development, this protein has now been found to be overproduced in tumour cells. Read more.

Glioblastoma growth may be written on the genes

University of Tokyo researchers have found that glioblastoma cells have an important epigenetic change – that is, a molecular change to the DNA without alteration of the code sequence. Thought to drive growth, this epigenetic modification could be a future drug target. Read more.

New registry of patients receiving stereotactic radiosurgery launched in US

All US brain tumour patients who receive stereotactic radiosurgery will have their anonymised results included in a national database. Launched by the American Association of Neurosurgical Surgeons (AANS) and the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), the data bank will be made public and used to inform better practice Read more.

New UK brain tumour tissue bank unveiled

BRAIN UK - a new national brain tumour tissue archive will, for the first time, give UK researchers easier access to the thousands of brain tumour samples from across the country. Supported by several brain tumour charities, the virtual network is being run from the University of Southampton. Read more.

Funding and care news

Rare tumours don’t get fair share of funding in Australia report finds

Concern has been expressed over the lack of funding for rare cancers in Australia, as reported in a recent government report. Accounting for 50% of all cancer deaths, rare cancers receive 20% of all funding – with brain tumours receiving 3%. Read the full report.

FDA gives funding boost to brain tumour research

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have awarded nearly $20 million for the development of drugs and devices to treat rare disease. Three glioblastoma research projects are among the fifteen grants awarded. Read more.

UK survey shows brain tumour care is lagging behind

The recently published Cancer Patient Experience Survey 2014, which assessed the experiences of over 118,000 UK cancer patients, has concluded that brain tumour patients experienced the worst support of all cancer groups. Conversely, brain tumour patients were the most likely group to be engaged in discussions about research or taking part in research. Read the full report.

Company news

Northwest Biotherapeutics’ DCVax-L tumour vaccine moves forward in UK and Germany

DCVax-L, a personalised immunotherapy that targets malignant gliomas, has been designated the UK’s first ‘Promising Innovative Medicine’ under a new scheme to fast-track important drugs. Read more. Also, the treatment has now been granted Hospital Exemption approval in Germany, allowing it to be given to patients who are not enrolled on the ongoing Phase III clinical trial.  Read more.

Immunocellular’s ICT-107 vaccine to enter Phase III trials next year

The US FDA and European regulatory authorities have given positive feedback for ICT-107, a ‘dendritic cell vaccine’, to enter Phase III trials.  Immunocellular Therapeutics plan to start this next stage of testing in patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma in 2015. Read more.

immatics and BioNTech-led consortium given go-ahead to trial personalised treatments

The Glioma Actively Personalized Vaccine Consortium (GAPVAC), an EU-funded initiative, have been granted approval in Germany to start clinical trials for ‘actively personalised’ glioma vaccines – a treatment tailored to each patient’s immune system and tumour type. Read more.

IBTA news

International Brain Tumour Awareness Week starts soon – Sunday 26 October!

The 8th International Brain Tumour Awareness Week is from 26 October to 1 November 2014. We strongly urge our colleagues in the worldwide brain tumour community to organise an awareness-raising event for this period. It could be a simple walk or a picnic; or an information seminar, scientific conference, or the distribution of a statement to local media – anything that draws attention to the particular challenges of a brain tumour in your part of the world and the need for a special response and an increased research effort.
Drop us an email at to let us know your plans or if you have any questions. And please also tell us how your activity goes and send us some photographs.

IBTA Chair joins expert group on cancer control

We are delighted to announce that Jan Geissler of the CML Advocates Network and the IBTA’s Kathy Oliver have been appointed as two of the patient advocates on the newly formed  European Commission Expert Group on Cancer Control as representatives for Rare Diseases Europe (EURORDIS). The first meeting of the Commission Group was held on 23-24 September in Milan, Italy. 

Earlier access to experimental treatments please!

The International Brain Tumour Alliance along with other patient associations, medical and nursing societies and industry representatives have collectively called for a shake-up of the methodology behind clinical trials for rare cancers such as brain tumours. In Annals of Oncology this month, Rare Cancers Europe say that testing of new rare cancer treatments should be streamlined.

Kathy Oliver, Chair and Co-director of the IBTA, says that “rare cancer patients can’t wait” and should “be allowed earlier access to promising experimental drugs”. Additionally, in a recent meeting between Rare Cancers Europe and the European Medicines Agency, the regulator confirmed that it was open to discussing with the developers of potential rare cancer treatments the use of complementary evidence sources and methodologies - given that large-scale clinical trails for rare cancers are often impossible. Read more.

News from other organisations

A workshop to 'jumpstart' drug development

The Jumpstarting Brain Tumor Drug Development Coalition, an alliance of five charities and organisations, held its second Clinical Trial Endpoints Workshop on 15th October (the first being on Jan 30th 2014). Attended by a wide range of key stakeholders in brain tumour drug development (including patients and carers), the meeting focused on improving clinical outcomes assessments (COAs) – the measures used to determine the effectiveness of a treatment. Read more.

Cayman Islands’ Brain Tumor Foundation wins support

Launched in February 2014, the Cayman Brain Tumor and Aneurysm Foundation has received endorsement from the territory’s Health Services Authority (HSA). The Cayman Islands Brain Tumour Foundation is featured in this year’s edition of the IBTA’s Brain Tumour magazine (pg 98).  Read more (local news story).

Conference Report: EANO 11th Annual Congress

Nearly one thousand healthcare and allied professionals, including numerous key researchers and policy leaders from around the world, attended the biennial European Association of Neuro-Oncology (EANO) meeting this month. Held in the Lingotto Conference Centre in Turin, Italy, from 9th to 12th October, read a full conference report written by IBTA Science and Technology Advisor Maryanne Roach here (pdf).

Upcoming conferences and events: Oct-Nov 2014

Keep up to date with future scientific conferences 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.

Here is a selection of forthcoming conferences. For the full listing, please see the IBTA website.

46th Congress of the International Society of Paediatric Oncology
22-25 October 2014
Toronto, Canada
7th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Co-operative Trials Group for Neuro-Oncology (COGNO)
24-25 October 2014
Melbourne, VIC, Australia
CNS Anticancer Drug Delivery and Development Conference
12-13 November 2014
Miami, Florida, USA
19th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Society for Neuro-Oncology (SNO 2014)
13-16 November 2014
Miami, Florida
I Tumori Rari dell'adulto
21-22 November 2014
Bologna, Italy

STOP PRESS - this just out!

It has just been announced that the EORTC/EANO/ESMO 2015 Trends in Central Nervous System Malignancies conference will be held in Istanbul, Turkey on 27-28 March 2015. Find out more.

And finally...

Proton beam therapy for children?

In the light of the recent coverage of five year old Ashya King who is receiving proton beam therapy for medulloblastoma, paediatric oncology consultant Adam Glaser, James Nicholson, Roger Taylor and David Walker discuss new treatments for childhood brain tumour in a British Medical Journal editorial.  Read more (subscription required).

Goldfish brain tumour surgery goes swimmingly

George, a 10 year old pet goldfish from Melbourne, Australia, was successfully treated for a brain tumour in an apparent world first. After seeing George struggling to eat and “getting bullied” by other fish, his concerned owners requested that Lort Smith Animal Hospital perform an operation to remove a slowly developing brain growth. The 45-minute long operation went without a snag and George is now expected to swim for a further twenty years. Read more.

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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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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 © 2014 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-newsletter. 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 on this e-newsletter is for educational purposes only and should in no way be taken as a substitute for medical care nor is the information on this website meant to constitute medical advice or professional services. For medical care and advice, please contact your doctor.

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

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