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IBTA e-news

The monthly bulletin for our
international brain tumour community

December 2014

All of us at the International Brain Tumour Alliance, would like to take this opportunity to wish you an enjoyable holiday season and a happy 2015!

We hope that the next year’s developments in the world of neuro-oncology will bring us closer to greatly-improved outcomes in brain and CNS tumours.

Treatment News

FDA decides that all control patients in NovoTTF-100A trial can ‘cross over’ to receive treatment with the device.

Following the announcement in November that the NovoTTF-100A phase III trial (EF-14) is to be terminated early due to successful interim results, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have instructed that all EF-14 trial patients in the control arm be allowed to ‘cross over’ and use Novocure’s portable system. Read more (press release). The company has also announced that more than 150 treatment centers in the United States have now been certified to prescribe Optune™ (as it is known in the US) to patients with recurrent glioblastoma (GBM). Read more (press release).

Brain tumour patients live longer if treated by specialist neuro-oncology surgeons

Research published in the Journal of Neurosurgery shows that brain tumour patients treated by a specialist neuro-oncology neurosurgeon have significantly improved survival and reduced hospital stays compared to those treated under a general neurosurgeon. Read more (article abstract).

Limiting imaging scans for headache may be dangerous

Writing in the January edition of Neurosurgery, Neurosurgeon Dr. Ammar H. Hawasli and colleagues of Washington University School of Medicine, US, argue that new guidelines suggesting limited use of CT scans and other neuroimaging tests may lead to more missed brain tumour diagnoses. Read more.

Adaptive hybrid surgery trial now underway

Northwestern Medicine (Chicago, USA) surgeons have successfully used adaptive hybrid surgery technology to treat a 57 year-old man as part of a phase I trial. The approach uses both surgery and stereotactic radiosurgery to maximise tumour removal while minimising brain damage. Read more (press release). Read more about adaptive hybrid surgery technology here.

Dr Tracy Batchelor talks about brain tumour treatment past, present and future

In an interview published in The ASCO Post, Dr Tracy Batchelor (Boston, USA) discusses and summarises the progress made in brain tumour treatments and the challenges for the future. Read more.

Research roundup

Gene found to potentially link brain tumours that run in families

Research, published in the January edition of Journal of the National Cancer Institute, reports on an error in a gene called POT1 that is found in families where two or more members have gliomas. This is the first gene to be found that is potentially associated with familial glioma. Read more.

Paediatric brain tumours have greatest impact of all childhood cancers

Of all types of childhood cancer, tumours of the brain and spinal cord lead to the most number of Years of Potential Life Lost (YPLL) concludes a report published in Neuro-Oncology. Analysing US statistics from 2009, the varying impact of different cancer types and histologies is compared and summarised. Read more (abstract).

Childhood brain tumours can influence self-perception in adulthood

Research published in the journal Neuro-Oncology concludes that childhood brain tumours can lead to a negative self-perception in adulthood. The study, from researchers at the  Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, concludes that childhood survivors should receive long term psychological assessments. Read more.

Antibody-based treatment trial starts in Australia

Originally developed by KaloBios for blood-based cancers, KB004 is an experimental antibody-based treatment that is being trialled on glioblastoma patients in two hospitals in Melbourne, Australia. The drug is already in trials for other cancers and is designed to specifically target cancer cells which have a surface protein, EphA3. Read more.

Cannabis extracts effective against glioblastoma in mice

A widely publicised study of the effect of cannabinoids THC and CBD shows that, when combined with radiotherapy, they can cause glioblastoma to grow significantly slower in mice. Treated animals’ tumours were nine times smaller with treatment after three weeks. The authors conclude cannabinoids may sensitise glioblastoma cells to radiation. Read more.

Potential treatment for rare childhood brain tumour

A team from Northwestern Medicine have shown that GSKJ4 could be a potential treatment for childhood diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG). Experiments on mice showed that the drug corrects a genetic error that occurs in DIPG tumours and slows tumour growth. Read more.

Empowering patients could cut trial costs

Over a quarter of the cost of drug development is spent on recruiting patients to clinical trials.  Empowering patients through improved communication and enrolment methods will reduce these costs, recommends a report published by research communication agency One Research. Read more.

Predicting vision loss in pituitary tumours may be possible

Tumours of the pituitary gland can lead to vision loss that may correct after surgery. Research published in Science Translational Medicine shows that this recovery is linked to damage to myelin – the ‘insulation’ of nerve cells – and could possibly be predicted with scanning technologies. Read more.


There’s still time to tell us what you think!

Thanks to all our readers who have told us what they think about the IBTA e-news through our online survey. If you haven’t completed the survey yet, please click here – the survey will be live until 5th January 2015.

The IBTA Report on Society for NeuroOncology conference 2014 now online

The IBTA’s “Highlights and Selected Abstracts from SNO 2014", written by IBTA Senior Advisor Chris Tse, is now available online here (pdf). It offers a roundup of some of the key events from the SNO (Society for NeuroOncology) conference 2014, which took place in Miami, Florida, USA, in November.

Walk Around the World for Brain Tumours 2014: deadline for receipt of distance walked

As we near the end of 2014, this year’s “Walk Around the World for Brain Tumours” is reaching its conclusion. We are busily computing the distances many organisations have symbolically donated to the IBTA in order to arrive at a grand total, which is to be announced in January.  Please ensure you let us know your organisation’s final distances walked by 31st December so they can be included in the 2014 World Walk total.  Please contact

Dates for International Brain Tumour Awareness Week 2015 announced

The dates for the next International Brain Tumour Awareness Week will be from Sunday, 25th October to Saturday, 31st October, 2015. The annual Walk Around the World for Brain Tumours starts on 1st January and finishes on 31st December, 2015.

News from other organisations

New Brain Tumor Network launched by Sontag Foundation

The Sontag Foundation has launched a new initiative, the Brain Tumor Network, which is to help adult primary brain tumour patients and care providers (in the US) to seek out all available treatment options, including those beyond the current standard of care. Read more.

New CEO for the National Brain Tumor Society announced

Sally M. Davies has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer of the National Brain Tumor Society in the US. Moving from her previous role as National Vice President, Development and Foundations for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA), Ms. Davis will oversee all aspects of the organisation’s operations. Read more.

Upcoming events

EORTC-EANO-ESMO 2015: call for abstracts and early bird rate

The European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Brain Tumour Group, the European Association of Neuro-Oncology (EANO), and the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) will be holding their fourth biennial EORTC-EANO-ESMO Conference, ‘Trends in Central Nervous System Malignancies’, on 27-28 March, 2015, in Istanbul, Turkey. The conference is also supported by the Turkish Neuro-Oncology Society.

Abstract submission is now open and will close on 12 February, 2015. Click here.

Early bird rates are available until 9 January, 2015. Click here.

WFNS Course: January 7 – 8, 2015

The World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies (WFNS) will be holding an education course on January 7 – 8, 2015, during the Asia Oceania International Skull Base Conference 2015 at Mumbai, India. WFNS courses offer academics and clinicians a timely update on basic sciences and pathology, and recent clinical trials alongside some interesting case-based discussions. Course content covers both adult and paediatric brain tumours and potentially has a direct impact on clinical practice. Places for the conference or the WFNS meeting can be purchased here.

ISNO 2015: registration now open

The 7th Annual Conference of the Indian Society of Neuro Oncology (ISNO) is to be held on 26 - 29 March, 2015 in Kochi, India. In addition to routine updates in the field of neuro-oncology, the meeting will focus on ‘functional preservation in glioma surgery’ and ‘paediatric neuro-oncology’. Several very informative sessions including surgical workshops, symposia on imaging and molecular biology/pathology, as well as a session on ISNO awards, consensus guidelines and updates on key recent data are being planned. Find out more here.

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.

And finally...

Christmas hope for neurosurgeon diagnosed with brain tumour

Local community members have rallied round to show their support to 55-year-old neurosurgeon Peter Sorini. Recently diagnosed with a brain tumour, he returned to his childhood home in Butte, Montana, US, to discover the word ‘hope’ illuminated in a Christmas tree. 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  


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 © 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 (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-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 in 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 the IBTA website meant to constitute medical advice or professional services. For medical care and advice, please contact your doctor.

Other websites linked from the IBTA e-newsletters 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.

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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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