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IBTA e-News

The monthly bulletin for our
international brain tumour community

December 2015
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 2016!

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.


The 2015 Walk Around the World for Brain Tumours

 The deadline to register the mileage for your ‘Walk Around the World for Brain Tumours’ is fast approaching (31 December 2015). Many thanks to everyone who has already sent us reports and mileage for walks completed during this year. With many new organisations having taken part, we are on track to beat last year’s amazing total of collectively walking around the world 13 times! So it is important for us to receive all of the mileage from all walks this year before the end of 2015. If you haven’t yet let us know about your walk and the distance achieved, please click here and complete the form ‘Register/Record your Walk’. Thanks, and we look forward to hearing from you!

News roundup of the Society for Neuro-Oncology Annual Scientific Meeting 2015 (SNO 2015)

The SNO 2015 conference was held between November 20th and 22nd in San Antonio, Texas, USA. The National Brain Tumor Society in the United States has published an excellent summary of some key news items from the annual conference on their blog site here and Cancer Network has provided very good coverage of the event here (free registration required).

Research roundup

Update on GBM AGILE international adaptive trial

Dr Donald Berry, Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, USA, gave an update on the GBM AGILE trial at SNO 2015. He explained how the ‘adaptive’ clinical trial will use patients’ biomarkers and outcomes throughout the study to inform and modify their treatment as the trial progresses. Read more here (press release) and here (Cancer Network). 

Rindopepimut vaccine given alongside bevacizumab (Avastin) improves survival in recurrent glioblastoma, Phase II data shows

25% of patients with recurrent EGFRvIII-positive glioblastoma were alive at two years following treatment with rindopepimut (Rintega) combined with bevacizumab, compared to none in the control arm and who received bevacizumab alone, according to results from the ReACT trial presented at SNO 2015. “This is the first randomized study ever in glioblastoma that has shown a benefit with any immunotherapy”, said lead investigator Dr David Reardon, Clinical Director at the Center for Neuro-Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, USA. Read more. In Targeted Oncology, Dr Reardon answers questions about the trial here.

No improvement in glioblastoma survival with bevacizumab (Avastin) combined with lomustine

Reporting on findings from the EORTC trial 26101 (BELOB) at SNO 2015, Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Wick of University Hospital Heidelberg, Germany, announced that bevacizumab/lomustine combination therapy for first glioblastoma recurrence does not improve overall survival when compared to lomustine alone, despite the time to progression increasing (4.17 vs 1.54 months). Earlier Phase II BELOB trial data had suggested that the combination treatment might improve survival. Read more.

Tumour-Treating Fields (TTFields) studies update

Presented at SNO 2015, Phase III trial data has shown that Optune (formerly NovoTTF-100A) extends survival when given alongside chemotherapy and/or bevacizumab in first recurrence of glioblastoma (when compared to chemotherapy and/or bevacizumab alone). After a minimum follow-up of 18 months, the risk of progression or death was reported to be reduced by 37%. Read more (company press release). Published in JAMA, an interim analysis of Phase III trial data has also shown that TTFields combined with maintenance temozolomide improves outcome compared to temozolomide alone. Read more (open access paper).

Separate analysis of clinical trial data has concluded that Optune is “safe” in adult glioblastoma patients, with implanted non-programmable shunts. Read more (company press release), while preliminary Phase II clinical data analysis has indicated that the TTFields is safe for use in brain metastases originating from non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Read more (company press release).

Accuracy of cancer gene sequencing “varies widely”: study sets benchmarks for future research

A study from the International Cancer Genomics Consortium (ICGC) has found numerous inconsistencies between research centres in how cancer cells are genetically analysed.  These discrepancies “must be resolved” before whole genome analysis of tumour cells can enter clinical practice, the authors found. Published as an open-access paper in Nature Communications, the project involved 83 researchers from 78 research institutions. The accuracy of different methods was compared by sequencing the genes of medulloblastoma and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and the report sets a ‘benchmark’ standard for future genetic research. The study concludes that “many issues are in fact easy to remedy and have an immediate positive impact on mutation detection accuracy”.  Read more.

Brain tumour patients with unmet needs are unaware of available support, study finds

Published in the Journal of Neuro-Oncology, a survey conducted of 40 brain tumour patients in Queensland, Australia, has assessed the level of unmet supportive care needs in the six months after diagnosis. The study, conducted by Danette Langbecker and Patsy Yates, found that the highest ranked unmet needs were physical closely followed by psychological, yet there was a relatively low awareness of, referral to, or use of supportive services. Read more (abstract),

Study finds genetic clues to explain glioma progression

An analysis of paired tumour samples from 41 patients with low-grade glioma which subsequently progressed to a high-grade tumour, has revealed key genetic changes within the tumour that appear to drive this progression. Published in Nature Genetics, the researchers show that therapies that inhibit the bromodomain and extraterminal (BET) family could prevent tumour progression. Read more.

Nanoparticles that carry drugs to brain tumour developed

A family of ‘3HM nanocarriers’, measuring just 20 nm in size, has been developed to carry therapeutic agents across the blood-brain barrier by researchers at the University of California, USA. When tested on rats with glioblastoma the nanoparticles were seen to accumulate inside the tumour. Read more.

Ketogenic diet produces ketone body that may sensitise glioblastoma stem cells to radiation therapy

A lab-based research project reported at SNO 2015 has found that the ketone body β-hydroxybutyrate, a substance produced in the body from a ketogenic diet, sensitises glioblastoma stem cells (GSCs) to radiation. GSCs are thought to be cells within a tumour mass that drive tumour growth and are resistant to radiation therapy. This research adds to previous research that shows the ketogenic diet (a high fat, low carbohydrate diet) reduces glioma growth in mice. Read more (abstract).

IDH positive glioma tumours have a vulnerable energy supply, study finds

Research published in Cancer Cell has concluded that tumour cells with mutation of the IDH gene (present in approximately 20 percent of adult gliomas) have reduced levels of NAD, a substance involved in cellular energy production. In tests on IDH mutant tumour cells, the researchers found that further lowering NAD levels with a class of drugs known as NAMPT inhibitors resulted in tumour cell death. Read more.

Physicians can trial new immunotherapies safely in brain tumour patients explains Dr Jeffrey Walker

Close monitoring and good patient communication are key for clinicians trialling new checkpoint inhibitors in brain tumours, said Dr Jeffrey Weber of Moffitt Cancer Center, Florida, USA. Drawing on his experience with immunotherapies in melanoma, Dr Weber discussed at SNO 2015 the most common adverse events associated with immune therapies. Read more.

Company news

Early trial data shows “potential benefits” with Toca 511 & Toca FC in recurrent high grade glioma; first patient enrols on Phase II/III trial

Interim data from ongoing Phase I and preclinical trials of Toca 511 & Toca FC – Tocagen’s gene therapy platform that uses retroviral replicating vectors – shows “a favourable safety profile and extended overall survival” compared to historical data in recurrent high grade glioma. Read more (company press release). Tocagen has also announced that the first patient has now been enrolled on Toca 5, a Phase II/III clinical trial comparing the therapy against chemotherapy (lomustine or temozolomide) or antiangiogenic therapy (bevacizumab) in patients with recurrent glioblastoma or anaplastic astrocytoma who are undergoing planned resection. Read more (company press release).

ImmunoCellular Therapeutics teams up with Alliance Foundation Trials for Phase III trial

ImmunoCellular Therapeutics has established an agreement with research group Alliance Foundation Trials (AFT) for a phase III registrational trial of its cancer immunotherapy ICT-107 in patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma. AFT will provide access to its network of clinical sites and patients, with the goal of accelerating patient enrollment. Read more (company press release).

Updated clinical trial results for Cortice Biosciences’ TPI 287 in glioblastoma and brain metastases

Cortice Biosciences has reported on three ongoing trials for TPI 287, a microtubule-stabilising agent, which show a 60% overall response rate. Two Phase 1/2 clinical trials for TPI 287 plus bevacizumab for recurrent glioblastoma, and a Phase 1 trial for TPI 297 plus radiation therapy in brain metastases demonstrate a “favourable” safety profile with no dose-limiting toxicities to date. Read more (company press release).

Brain tumour community news

National Brain Tumor Society appoints David Arons as Chief Executive Officer

On November 24, the National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS, USA) officially appointed and named their new Chief Executive Officer as David Arons, JD. David had served as interim CEO at NBTS since July 2015. We send our congratulations to David on his appointment.  Read more.

And in other news...

$10,000 award for Educational Course or Symposium in Developing World

The Society for Neuro-Oncology (SNO) has announced that it is accepting proposals for a Neuro-Oncology Symposium or Educational Course in the Developing World. An award of up to US$10,000 will be given, based on the required budget, for the development of a multidisciplinary course relevant to regional needs in the field of neuro-oncology. The deadline for proposals is January 8, 2016. Read more.

Seeking to diagnose childhood brain tumours earlier

Following last month’s news of the ‘HeadSmart’ national awareness campaign (UK) helping reduce paediatric brain tumour diagnosis time, we have been made aware of an interesting study published earlier this year which explores the issue in additional depth. The research, led by Dr Ibrahim Qaddoumi, of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, USA, analyses the causes, consequences, and potential solutions for delayed childhood low-grade glioma diagnosis. Read more. An accompanying narrated presentation is accessible here

Reviewing treatment advances for newly diagnosed glioblastoma

An open-access ‘mini-review’ published in BMC Medicine gives a helpful overview and summary of the latest glioblastoma treatment advances, including the use of genetic biomarkers, immune therapies and personalised treatments. Read more.

Abstract deadlines

First International Meeting on Meningioma
17-18 June 2016
Ontario, Canada
Abstract Submission Deadline: 15 February, 2016 – Click here

17th International Symposium on Pediatric Neuro-Oncology (ISPNO 2016)
12-15 June 2016
Liverpool, United Kingdom
Abstract Submission Deadline: 19 February , 2016Click here

Upcoming conferences and events

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


CDDF-ITCC-SIOPE 4th Paediatric Oncology Conference
20-21 January 2016
Brussels, Belgium


3rd Immunotherapy of Cancer Conference (ITOC-3)
21-23 March 2016
Munich, Germany

2nd EORTC Cancer Survivorship Summit
31 March-1 April 2016
Brussels, Belgium

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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