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IBTA e-News

The monthly bulletin for our
international brain tumour community

July 2016

Research news

Literature review says gross total tumour resection improves overall glioblastoma survival; but mice experiments show glioma tumours grow more aggressively after surgery

A review of published literature has concluded that gross total resection (GTR) – complete surgical removal of the visible tumour – “substantially” improves survival, compared to subtotal resection (STR). The analysis of 37 studies, published in JAMA Oncology, found that GTR was associated with a 38% reduction in risk of dying at one year and a 16% reduced risk of dying at two years after surgery, compared to STR (relative risks 0.62 and 0.84 respectively). The data also showed that any type of resection was associated with improved survival compared to biopsy alone. Read more.
Published in Neuro-Oncology, separate experiments performed on mice with glioma tumours have shown that following surgical resection (>90% removal), the remaining tumour cells actually grow more aggressively than those in the original tumour. Damage to the brain tissue due to surgery appeared to cause biological and genetic changes in the region that accelerated the growth and invasion of remaining tumour cells. Read more.

High blood sugar paradoxically linked with lower risk of meningioma, study finds

Seeking to find the relationship between meningioma occurrence and the blood biomarkers associated with obesity, research published in the British Journal of Cancer has found that high blood sugar levels are linked with a reduced risk of meningioma diagnosis. Meningioma is known to be associated with type 2 diabetes and obesity, yet this study, which looked at blood test results of 216 cases of meningioma from a cohort of 41,000 people from Sweden, found that high fasting glucose levels were linked to a reduced risk of meningioma in women, and high non-fasting blood glucose levels were associated with reduced risk in both men and women. Read more.

Study finds that glioma tumours fuel their growth with fats

Research published in Neuro-Oncology has found that glioma tumours use fatty acids as a primary energy source to enable them to proliferate and multiply. Experiments in mice showed that blocking the fat breakdown process (fatty acid oxidation) markedly reduced tumour growth, suggesting that drugs such as etomoxir, which target this mechanism, could be effective glioma treatments. Previous research concluding that glucose is a primary fuel source for glioma did not reflect how tumour cells actually function within the brain itself, the authors argue. Read more.

Tests show that drug containing soluble aspirin may offer promise as new brain tumour treatment

Announced at the “Brain Tumors 2016 - From Biology to Therapy” conference, held in Warsaw, Poland from 27-29th June, results of lab-based tests have shown that IP1867B, a drug containing reformulated soluble aspirin and two other previously approved ingredients, can readily pass through the blood-brain barrier and has the potential to destroy brain tumour cells while leaving normal tissue unharmed. Read more.

Study shows checkpoint inhibitor and anti-tumour vaccine may work together to limit glioblastoma growth

In experiments on mice, the combination of a dendritic cell (DC) vaccine and a PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor have been found to be effective in reducing glioblastoma growth, while each agent given alone had limited effect. Published in JCI Insight, blockade of the PD-1 (programmed death 1) pathway in immune cells allowed them to respond to the vaccine and attack tumour cells more effectively. Read more.

New technique that measures glioblastoma cells’ movement patterns may be predictor of outcome

Research published in Cell Reports has demonstrated a lab-based technique that measures glioblastoma tumour cells’ ability to move through a synthetic matrix designed to mimic brain tissue, the results of which were closely linked to the patient’s overall outcome. Testing the technique on 14 patients’ glioblastoma samples, the researchers found that an individual’s tumour cells’ sensitivity to PDGF (platelet derived growth factor) and speed of movement was ‘highly predictive’ of tumour recurrence. Read more.

Brain tumour survival and frequency compared between United States and Taiwan

By comparing data from the Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States (CBTRUS) and the Taiwan Cancer Registry between 2002 and 2010, a study published in Frontiers in Public Health has found differences in the diagnosis rate and survival from brain tumours between the two countries. Glioblastoma was the most common malignant tumour in both regions, but made up a higher proportion of all brain tumours in the US. Age-adjusted rates of brain and central nervous system tumours were higher in the US, although survival rates were higher in Taiwan. Read more (full article available).

Fluid sample could help identify glioma mutation, study finds

A study in Clinical Cancer Research has demonstrated a technique to measure D-2-Hydroxyglutarate (D-2HG) in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples, the levels of which could be used to indicate whether an individual’s glioma has mutations in the IDH gene (a prognostic marker). D-2HG is produced by tumour cells with IDH gene mutations. In the 176 samples derived from 84 patients used in this study, levels of D-2HG were 17 times greater in those with IDH mutant tumours. Read more.

Study examines techniques to help children with brain tumours socially integrate in the classroom

A preliminary study published in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics has assessed a peer-mediated intervention, initially developed for children with autistic spectrum disorders, for improving the social competence of childhood brain tumour survivors. The intervention focused on teaching classroom peers, rather than the paediatric brain tumour survivor, specific social skills such as noticing and tolerating differences in others. Results found that the approach was acceptable to families of brain tumour survivors and feasible to implement in schools. The study also suggested that the intervention resulted in reduced levels of rejection and victimisation within the classroom. Read more.

Research funding announcements

Half a million euro grant for research into ultrasound-based therapy for childhood brain tumours

A €500,000 grant (US$ 550,000) has been awarded to VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, to research high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) as a potential treatment for paediatric brain tumours. The technology, which combines directed ultrasound with medication packaged in modified tiny bubbles (PEG-liposomes), is designed to allow medication to pass more easily through the blood-brain barrier into a tumour. Technology Foundation STW and the Dutch Cancer Society (DCS/KWF) have given this grant as part of the 'Technology for Oncology' project. Read more.

One million dollar grant to research ‘extraordinary gene transfer’ in brain tumours

The New Zealand Health Research Council has awarded a grant of NZ$ 1,000,000 (US$ 712,000) to the Malaghan Institute in Wellington, New Zealand, for research into the transfer of mitochondria between brain cells. In research published earlier this year in Cell Metabolism, researchers from the Malaghan Institute showed that the DNA from mitochondria can be transferred between cells within a tumour, opening the possibility of a new approach to tumour-targeted therapies. Read more (press release).

Treatment news

Overhauled UK Cancer Drugs Fund comes into effect

A new version of the UK Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) comes into effect on 29th July. The original Fund was launched as a temporary measure in 2011 and, following a recent consultation process involving the public and multiple stakeholders, the reformed system will have a capped budget of £340m. However, a coalition of 15 leading UK cancer charities previously expressed “deep concern” that the new CDF will ultimately reduce the number of patients receiving vital treatments. Read more. (Official guidance documentation available here.)

Company news

‘Second Generation’ Optune device approved by US FDA

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Novocure’s Second Generation Optune, a Tumor Treating Fields device, for use in the United States. Novocure plans to offer it to existing and new glioblastoma patients in the US. The new device features various enhancements and is smaller and lighter than the existing model. Read more (company press release).

AbbVie’s ABT-414 granted US FDA Rare Pediatric Disease Designation for diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG)

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Rare Pediatric Disease Designation for ABT-414 for the treatment of paediatric patients with EGFR-amplified diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG). The FDA designation is designed to encourage development of new drugs that treat and prevent certain rare childhood diseases. ABT-414 is an antibody combined with a drug that targets epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) on tumour cells. Read more (company press release).

European Medicines Agency (EMA) grants Orphan Medicinal Product status to Orbus Therapeutics’ eflornithine for glioma

Orbus Therapeutics has announced that eflornithine has been awarded Orphan Medicinal Product status by the EMA, a status that grants incentives for research, marketing and development. Eflornithine has previously been used to treat African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) and hirsutism (excessive hair growth). Orbus Therapeutics is developing the drug to treat anaplastic astrocytoma, having previously been granted Orphan Drug Designation and Breakthrough Therapy Designation by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A phase 3 trial of eflornithine in combination with lomustine for recurrent anaplastic astrocytoma is planned to start later in 2016. Read more (company press release).

IsoRay announces positive trial results for Cesium-131 brachytherapy implant in aggressive meningioma treatment

Results presented at the Society for Neuro-Oncology (SNO) Conference on Meningioma, held June 17 - 18 in Toronto, Canada, have shown that in a trial of 16 patients with recurrent meningioma, 95% of treated tumours had no radiographic evidence of regrowth when treated with IsoRay’s ‘GammaTile’ therapy. The procedure involves implanting Cesium-131 seeds embedded in collagen tiles directly into the brain tissue after surgical removal of the tumour. Read more (company press release).

Accurexa files patent application for ACX-31 program to deliver chemotherapy directly into brain tumour sites

Accurexa has applied for a patent for a formulation that will be used in its ACX-31 Cancer Program, which will trial a combination of the chemotherapies temozolomide and BCNU (carmustine) delivered directly into brain tumour sites. The company has announced that recent results of a toxicity study of temozolomide polymer wafers in the brains of monkeys supports the ACX-31 program, and this news follows the announcement that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Accurexa a pre-IND (Investigational New Drug) meeting to discuss the development of the program. Read more (company press release).

Brain Tumour community news

‘Brain Tumour’ magazine article now online: interview with David Arons, Chief Executive of National Brain Tumor Society

Over the coming months we will continue to publish articles from the 2016/17 edition of Brain Tumour magazine on the IBTA website. The latest article online is “An interview with David Arons, Chief Executive at the National Brain Tumor Society, United States” and can be read online here. Earlier this year, David Arons was named to the Blue Ribbon Panel of experts selected to help advise the US National Cancer Moonshot, being led by Vice President Joe Biden.

Patient enrolment on International Low Grade Glioma Patient Registry to open at American Brain Tumor Association Conference

At the American Brain Tumor Association's (ABTA) Annual Patient and Family conference, to be held on July 29-30 in Chicago (event details below in Conference and event news), the ABTA is to formally launch the International Low-Grade Glioma Registry by opening voluntary on-site enrolment at their conference, they have announced. (An article in the 2016/17 edition of Brain Tumour magazine that discussed and explained the International Low-Grade Glioma Registry can be read online here.) The ABTA provided initial funding for the project last year and 2,000 low grade glioma (LGG) patients will be used in a study to examine genetic variants associated with LGG, responses to treatment, clinical outcomes, and patients’ needs regarding information on their tumour and its treatment. Read more (press release).

Issue one of WFNOS Magazine released

The first issue of the World Federation of Neuro-Oncology Societies (WFNOS) Magazine has now been published. It features articles written by international experts, covering topics that include: glioma, glioblastoma and brain metastasis research; challenges and opportunities faced by the Indian Society of Neuro-Oncology, and a new questionnaire for assessing the effect of brain tumours on patients’ ability to perform day-to-day activities. The first issue also includes an article by IBTA Director Kathy Oliver, “Brain Tumor Patient Advocacy - Who Needs It?”. WFNOS Magazine can be read online and downloaded here.

UK Brain Tumour research funding falls despite government pledge

Statistics from the UK National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) have shown that funding for brain tumour research fell to 1.37% in 2015, down from 1.5% in 2014. This news comes after a recent UK government commitment in a House of Commons debate to form a ‘Task and Finish’ working group to address the need for more brain tumour research, which was the result of a successful e-Petition. Read more.

In related news, an All Party Parliamentary Group meeting, held in Westminster Hall, London, on July 13th reviewed the landmark success of the Petitions Committee inquiry into brain tumour research funding and discussed how the new UK Government can take forward their recommendations in the year ahead. The meeting was attended by numerous brain tumour charity representatives, IBTA representative Dr Stu Farrimond, and several brain tumour patients and their families. A summary of the meeting can be read here.

Conference and event news

ASNO/COGNO registration now open
Registration is now open for the 13th Asian Society for Neuro-Oncology (ASNO) Meeting / 9th Cooperative Trials Group for Neuro-Oncology (COGNO) Annual Scientific Program, which will take place in Sydney, Australia, from 11th to 14th September, 2016. Information about rates, awards and accommodation can be found here.

Call for abstracts:
European Cancer Conference (ECCO) 2017
27-30 January 2017
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Abstract submission deadline: 25 August, 2016 – Click here

Upcoming events

ABTA 2016 Patient and Family Conference
29-30 July 2016
Chicago, Illinois, USA

13th Annual Meeting of the Asian Society for Neuro-Oncology (ASNO)
11-15 September 2016
Sydney, NSW, Australia

9th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Cooperative Trials Group for Neuro-Oncology (COGNO)
11-15 September 2016
Sydney, NSW, Australia

Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) 2016 Annual Meeting
24-28 September 2016
San Diego, California, USA

58th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) 2016
25-28 September 2016
Boston, Massachusetts, USA

National Brain Tumor Society 2016 Scientific Summit
29 September 2016
Boston, Massachusetts, USA

European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2016 Congress
7-11 October 2016
Copenhagen, Denmark

The new-format ESMO Patient Advocacy Track will also be taking place from 7-10 October and will address the specific needs of the advocacy community in oncology. A number of travel grants to enable European Patient Advocates to attend the ESMO Patient Advocacy Track are available (more details available here). Find out more about this dynamic programme here.

12th Congress of EANO
12-16 October 2016
Mannheim/Heidelberg, 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  


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Copyright © 2016 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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