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IBTA e-news

The monthly bulletin for our
international brain tumour community

July 2014

We're delighted to be able to send you this, the July edition of the IBTA e-news. Thank you so much for the constructive feedback sent so far about the e-news make-over. Please do continue to send us your feedback and suggestions - just hit reply or email

Also, our Facebook page has now changed and been updated (here is the new link). If you are a social media user, then please 'like' our new IBTA Facebook page here, and follow us on twitter at @theIBTA. We use both social media streams to keep in touch with you, and to give you news and updates as they happen.

On a very sad note, the IBTA recently learned of the passing of Andrew Kennedy, age 7, who appears on the cover of the 2014 edition of 'Brain Tumour' magazine.

Andrew was diagnosed with a brain stem glioma in 2011 and died on 7th July.  An article in the Kings County News reported that: “The Cambridge [Canada] boy dreamed of becoming a police officer and, last December, members of the Kings District RCMP [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] made his dream come true when he was inducted into the force as an honorary member.”  Read more.

All of us at the IBTA extend our deepest condolences to Andrew’s family on the loss of their courageous son.

Best wishes,

Kathy Oliver, Chair and Co-Director, IBTA

Treatment news

Novocure’s portable NovoTTF available for glioblastoma treatment in 8 countries

Novocure have just announced that NovoTTF-100A, a portable non-invasive device that emits a low intensity electric field, will be made available on prescription for recurrent glioblastoma treatment in 15 cancer centres in Europe and Israel. Designed to be worn by patients continuously, clinical data shows results comparable to chemotherapy drugs and with fewer side effects. Read More.

Slow-growing medulloblastoma cells found to be linked to relapse and are missed by current treatments

Research published in Cancer Cell (pay for access to whole paper) has identified a rare group of slow-growing cells in medulloblastoma tumours – possibly explaining why 30% of these childhood tumours relapse. This subpopulation of Sox2+ cells evade many existing chemotherapeutic agents; the old drug mithramycin, however, may attack these cells. Read more.

New medical guidance for brain tumour-related epilepsy treatment

Dr Charles Vecht is lead author in a fresh look at the treatment of epilepsy in brain tumour patients. The paper, published in The Oncologist, concludes that levetiracetam is the agent of choice, followed by valproic acid. A combination of anti-epilepsy drugs may also be effective. Read more, (Abstract available free of charge.)

Five myths about brain tumours that have spread to the brain

In a special article published in the July issue of Neurosurgery, a team of brain tumour experts argue that five out-of-date "myths" are compromising the care of patients with brain metastases (tumours which spread to the brain from a primary cancer elsewhere in the body). Read more.

On the research front...

Breaching the blood-brain barrier to treat brain tumours

This month, medical physicist Kullervo Hynynen will be embarking on an ambitious trial to test whether high-intensity ultrasound, combined with injection of ‘microbubbles’, will disrupt the body’s blood-brain barrier and allow chemotherapeutic drugs to better reach brain tumours. Read more.

Vaccine is an effective treatment for gliomas in mice

Researchers have created a vaccine in mice that was effective against tumour cells with a mutated IDH1 gene (something present in 70% of gliomas). This ‘proof of principle study’ was published in Nature and sets the stage for further vaccine research. Read more.

New findings in Medulloblastoma genetics

Group 3 medulloblastomas are a subgroup of tumours with a remarkably poor prognosis. Until now, only one gene – MYC – has been known to drive its growth. Findings recently published in Nature reveal that two sister genes, GFI1B and GFI1, are key players in the tumour’s spread. Read More.

A SUMO target for new glioblastoma treatments discovered

Researchers from Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, McGill University and McGill University Health Centre have found a new potential target for glioblastoma treatment. They have uncovered that proteins in the SUMO (small ubiquitin-like modifier) family are crucial to glioblastoma growth and are now screening for drugs that will target these molecules. Read more.

Research shows how glioblastomas use blood vessels as a highway

Glioblastoma cells spread throughout the brain by taking control of blood vessels, a new study published in Nature Communications shows. The research visualises glioblastoma cells as they track along blood vessels and disrupt the protective blood-brain barrier. It is hoped that new chemotherapy agents may be able to target this process. Read more.

Stupp: how we can develop better, cheaper cancer drugs

How new cancer treatments are currently being developed and brought to market is unsustainable, says Prof Roger Stupp, head of the Cancer Centre at Zurich University Hospital and President of the EORTC. In the latest issue of Cancer World, he explains why it is now time for greater collaboration and a more personalised approach in the development of new drugs. Read More.

Policies and guidelines update

New nursing guidelines for children with brain tumours released

The American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA) and the American Association of Neuroscience Nurses (AANS) have produced new clinical practice guidelines for the care of children with brain tumours. This follows last month’s publication of the first ever nursing clinical practice guidelines for the care of adults with brain tumours. Download the guidelines here.

Company news

Full steam ahead for Agenus cancer vaccine

Final Phase II trial results for Agenus’ Prophage autologous cancer vaccine show that patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma (GBM) survived twice as long as expected. Plans for Phase III trials are currently under consideration. Read more.

EnGeneIC thinks big with nanotechnology treatment

EnGeneIC are an emerging biopharmaceutical company focused on developing new, targeted cancer treatments. They have announced plans to start a Phase 2a clinical trial of a nanoparticle drug system (EDV™ nanocells) - designed to deliver chemotherapy drug doxorubicin directly into glioblastoma cells. Read more.

Biotechnology company to-BBB secures financing

to-BBB is a clinical stage biotechnology company developing novel treatments for devastating brain disorders, such as brain cancer.  The company has announced successful round C financing of €10 million with new and existing investors. This news also coincides with key changes in their management team. Read more.

IBTA news

'Brain Tumour' Magazine is now available online

‘Brain Tumour’ magazine can now be read online. Viewable via mobile devices, the 2014, 2013 and 2012 issues are all available. (Perfect when you can’t lay your hands on the paper copy.) If you, or someone you know would like to receive our annual magazine, please visit to request a copy - or send us an email by replying to this newsletter.

Back on track… after having a brain tumour removed

In the 2014 issue of ‘Brain Tumour’ magazine, we featured the remarkable story of the model and high jumping champion Amy Pejkovic’s recovery from a brain tumour and successful return to competitive sport (pages 12-13). Amy has now hit the headlines and the Daily Mail Online have run a story about her. Read more

Upcoming conferences: Aug-Sep 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 we have not yet listed on the IBTA website, please let us know.

The European Society for Paediatric Oncology (SIOPE – ENCCA) Conference 2014: ‘Joining Efforts for a Brighter Future for Children and Adolescents with Cancer’

18-19 September 2014
Brussels, Belgium

26th European Congress of Pathology

30 August-3 September 2014 (includes one session on brain tumours)
London, UK

Brain Tumor Epidemiology Consortium Annual Meeting BTEC 2014

8-10 September 2014
Vienna, Austria

11th Annual Meeting of the Asian Society for Neuro-Oncology (ASNO 2014)

11-14 September 2014
Istanbul, Turkey 

39th European Society for Medical Oncology Congress (ESMO 2014)

26-30 September 2014
Madrid, Spain

Conferences - call for abstracts

4th Annual Brain Metastases Research and Emerging Therapy Conference

19-20 September 2014
Marseille, France

Submission deadline: July 19, 2014
To submit an abstract, click here.
To register for the conference or find out more, click here.

7th Cooperative Trials Group for Neuro-Oncology (COGNO) Annual Scientific Meeting: 'Translating science to patient centred trials'

Friday 24th - Saturday 25th October 2014
The Langham, Melbourne, Australia
Submission deadline: August 1, 2014
To submit an abstract or find out more, click here.

The 1st CNS Anticancer Drug Discovery and Development Conference

November 12 - 13, 2014 (immediately prior to SNO's Annual Scientific Meeting)
Loews Hotel, Miami Beach, Florida
Submission deadline is now extended to August 15, 2014
To submit an abstract or find out more, click here.

And finally...

Even dinosaurs got brain tumours

A newly discovered fossil of a 72 million year old Gorgosaurus shows that even dinosaurs suffered with brain tumours. Manchester University, UK, scientists found evidence of a tumour in the three tonne predator causing it to repeatedly fall and suffer serious injury. Remarkably, the creature seems to have been able to repeatedly heal itself.  Read more.

Neurosurgery starts in Gambia

The first brain tumour operation has been ‘successfully’ performed in Gambia, West Africa. Performed by a Gambian surgeon who has undergone training in Dakar, it is hoped that in the future there will be no need to send patients with brain tumours to other countries. Read more.

Sometimes brain tumours can be a laughing matter

A six year old Bolivian girl was recently reported as experiencing uncontrollable bouts of laughter. She was diagnosed as having gelastic seizures (laughing seizures) and subsequently found to have a small hamartoma pressing on her brain’s temporal lobe. After the tumour was removed she made a good recovery and now only laughs at appropriate times. 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 © 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 on this website. 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 website 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 on this website may not necessarily be those of the International Brain Tumour Alliance.

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