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IBTA e-News

The monthly bulletin for our
international brain tumour community

February 2016

Headline news

Two glioblastoma treatments selected as ‘Clinical Cancer Advances’ in American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual report

Immunotherapy has been identified as ‘advance of the year’ in ASCO’s Clinical Cancer Advances 2016: Annual Report on Progress Against Cancer. The annual report, which reviews the recent top advances and emerging trends in clinical cancer research, singled out two glioblastoma treatments, Tumor Treating Fields (TTF) and the rindopepimut vaccine, as notable novel therapies. Read more (full report pdf). For more information on rindopepimut please see the Celldex website and for more information on TTF please see the Novocure website.” 

Brain tumours are leading cause of cancer-related death in teenagers and young adults

A report that used data from the Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States has found that brain and central nervous system tumours are the most common cause of cancer-related deaths in 15-39 year olds, and the most frequent cancer to occur in 15-19 year olds. The report looks at data from 2008-2012 and is published in Neuro-Oncology. Read more.

March is Brain Tumour Awareness Month in the UK

Throughout March various brain tumour organisations in Great Britain will be holding awareness-raising activities across the country. Search online for “UK Brain Tumour Awareness Month March 2016” to find a selection of activities.

Treatment news

Proton beam therapy: behind the headlines

Published in The Lancet, a phase II trial looking at the long-term side-effects of proton beam radiotherapy in childhood medulloblastoma received widespread attention in the media. The study found that proton beam therapy had “acceptable toxicity and had similar survival outcomes” to conventional radiotherapy, suggesting that it could be a potential alternative to conventional radiation therapy. Writing in response to media reports that “go far beyond the claims of the authors”, a panel of oncologists have offered a balanced appraisal of the research here (Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group website).

Handheld microscope that ‘sees’ brain tumour tissue in development

A miniature microscope that can visualise cells up to a depth of half a millimetre has been developed as a potential aid to brain tumour surgery. Designed for ‘point-of-care’ pathology, a paper published in Biomedical Optics Express demonstrates how the handheld device might allow clinicians to rapidly distinguish tumour tissue from normal tissue. Read more.

Research news

International study identifies unique subtypes of glioma

Using data from The Cancer Genome Atlas, an international team of researchers has identified the complete set of genes associated with 1,122 diffuse grade II-III-IV gliomas. Published in Cell, they defined new glioma subgroups with distinct molecular and clinical features, which they hope will shed light on mechanisms driving disease progression. Read more.

Two childhood brain tumour studies: survivors at risk of severe cognitive impairments in later life; insufficient evidence that proton beam therapy protects IQ better than conventional radiotherapy

In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, researchers from St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, USA, assessed the cognitive functioning of 224 adult survivors of childhood brain tumours. Results showed that, compared to the general population, survivors had nearly a four-fold increased risk of severely impaired academic skills, and were more likely to be unemployed and living with parents or caregivers. Impairments in intelligence, memory, attention and academic abilities  were highest in those who had received radiation therapy. Read more. In separate research published in the same journal, researchers compared the IQ of brain tumour patients treated with proton beam therapy with those who received conventional (photon) radiation therapy. IQ scores declined over time in those who received conventional radiation therapy - but not in those who received proton beam treatment. However, these differences were not statistically significant and “it remains unclear if [proton beam therapy] results in clinically meaningful cognitive sparing,” the authors write. Read more.

Asthma, eczema, and respiratory allergies linked to reduced glioma risk, international research consortium finds

In a study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, an international consortium of researchers found that people with respiratory allergies or eczema had an approximately 30% lower risk of glioma, both low and high grade, compared to the normal population. Using data from the Glioma International Case-Control Study, the researchers analysed detailed patient information from 4,533 glioma cases and 4,171 controls, recruited from 14 study sites across five countries. The authors suggest that understanding the biologic mechanism behind this association may yield new opportunities for immunotherapy or cancer prevention. Read more.

Rosacea diagnosis tied to increased risk of glioma, study reports

A Danish study has found an association between the skin condition rosacea and glioma diagnosis. Published in JAMA Dermatology, the nationwide cohort study from 1997 to 2011 of 68,372 patients with rosacea and 5,416,538 individuals without the skin condition concluded that the incidence of glioma was 36% higher in those with rosacea. The authors highlight that both rosacea and glioma are associated with increased activity in matrix metalloproteinase enzymes. Read more.

Two studies unpick the role of telomerase in brain tumours

Brain tumour treatments that target telomerase – an enzyme that protects DNA and may allow tumour cells to divide indefinitely – are currently under development. A study published in Modern Pathology examined glioblastoma tumours without apparent telomerase activity and found that many of these had tumour-associated macrophages – a type of white blood cell – that may be helping to protect tumour DNA. These tumours also appeared to have a worse prognosis, the study said. A separate study published in Neuro-Oncology has also found that telomerase activation in glioblastoma tumours predicts a more aggressive tumour in young patients only. Read more (full paper available).

New clinical trial of Robotic Laser Thermotherapy to focus on quality of life outcomes

A multicentre clinical trial in the USA called LAANTERN is to measure the long term effects of neurosurgery performed using The NeuroBlate System, with a particular focus on patient quality of life, rather than survival benefits alone. Developed by Monteris Medical, the system is designed to operate within an existing MRI scanner, destroying brain tumour and other abnormal brain tissue via a robotically controlled laser probe. Results are expected in September 2020. Read more. (Clinical trial information here.)

Genetic abnormality triggers rare paediatric low-grade glioma in three ways, says study

A study published in Nature Genetics analysed 249 tumour samples to reveal how an abnormally fused gene causes angiocentric gliomas, a rare type of paediatric low-grade glioma. MYB-QKI gene fusions were the specific genetic driver for the tumour type, driving tumour growth via three mechanisms simultaneously – a finding apparently never before seen in oncology. Read more.

Study finds bevacizumab (Avastin) may help prevent lung cancer brain metastases

A study that analysed clinical data from non-small cell lung cancer and breast cancer trials has found that bevacizumab treatment decreases the rate of secondary brain tumour formation in lung cancer patients, but not in breast cancer patients. Other non-brain secondary tumours appeared unaffected by bevacizumab, and the researchers’ experiments with mice supported these findings. Read more (abstract).

Company news

Trial of VBL Therapeutics’ VB-111 starts enrolling patients in Israel

An ongoing phase III trial of VBL Therapeutics’ VB-111, a gene therapy that targets brain tumour blood vessels, combined with bevacizumab (Avastin) versus bevacizumab alone has started recruiting adult patients with recurrent glioblastoma in Israel. Read more (Company press release). (Clinical trial information here.)

Oncoceutics starts phase II trial of ONC201 for glioblastoma

Enrolment has commenced for a phase II trial of Oncoceutics’ ONC201, an Akt/ERK inhibitor taken orally, in five centres in the USA. Announced in a company press release, this study follows successful phase I trials and is open to adult patients with a glioblastoma that has relapsed or is refractory to other therapies, and who have not been treated with bevacizumab (Avastin). Read more (Company press release). (Clinical trial information here.)

TRACON launches phase II glioblastoma trial of TRC102

TRACON Pharmaceuticals has announced the initiation of a phase II trial of TRC102 in adult patients with progressive or recurrent glioblastoma who have previously received radiation therapy and temozolomide. In the (presently recruiting) study, temozolomide will be given alongside TRC102, which inhibits DNA repair in cancer cells and is designed to reverse resistance to chemotherapy.  Read more (press release). (Clinical trial information here.)


New IBTA webpage that celebrates your achievements in 2015!

We have today published a new page on the IBTA website that celebrates the achievements of the international community of brain tumour organisations and individuals who have organised walks and events to raise awareness about brain tumours as part of the 2015 Walk Around the World for Brain Tumours and International Brain Tumour Awareness Week. There are photographs and short reports from a selection of different events and walks that took place last year. Please do take a look – it is incredible to see what has been done for raising awareness of brain tumours around the world! Click here.

If you would like to let us know about an event or walk to be considered for inclusion on the website, please do send an email to
And don’t forget to tell us about what you have planned for 2016 – submit details about walks and events online here.

You can find out more about the IBTA’s 2016 Walk Around the World for Brain Tumours initiative and the International Brain Tumour Awareness Week (23 to 29 October, 2016) here.

Community news

Stand up to Cancer Canada announces brain tumour research ‘dream team’

Stand up to Cancer (SU2C) Canada has announced that Dr Peter Dirks, neurosurgeon and researcher at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children, will lead a ‘Cancer Stem Cell Dream Team’. The 12-member team represents “top Canadian scientists” and has been awarded CAD$11.7 million in grants over four years to focus on research in glioblastomas in adults and children, and posterior fossa ependymomas in infants. Read more.

Brain Tumour e-Petition success - 120,129 signatures!

We are delighted to share with you the news that a UK e-petition calling for the British government to address the issue of insufficient brain tumour research funding has received the required number of signatures (100,000) before the deadline of 3 February, 2016. Since our last e-News, an incredible 70,000 people added their signatures to those already on the e-Petition, and so the issue will now be timetabled for a debate in the UK Parliament. The e-Petition was started by Maria Lester (who lost her brother to a brain tumour) and supported by Brain Tumour Research. Thank you to all who signed the petition.

British Neuro-Oncology Society (BNOS) launches new website

BNOS has announced the unveiling of a new website, which offers a mobile-friendly interface for accessing their latest news, information about forthcoming events, and updates on research and clinical practice. Access the website at

And in other news...

Experts' predictions for brain tumour research advances in 2016

Writing in a blog article for the National Brain Tumor Society, Tom Halkin summarises a diverse selection of researchers’ and clinicians’ hopes and predictions for brain tumour advances in 2016. Read more.

New Scientist article looks at the ketogenic diet

A recent article in the New Scientist explores some of the evidence for a ketogenic diet as a potential brain tumour treatment. Read more (free registration required).

Conference abstract deadlines

17th International Symposium on Pediatric Neuro-Oncology (ISPNO 2016)
12-15 June 2016
Liverpool, United Kingdom
Abstract Submission Deadline: Extended to 29 February, 2016Click here

18th Annual Meeting of the Brain Tumor Epidemiology Consortium (BTEC 2016)  
“Immunefactors and viral interactions in brain cancer etiology and outcomes”
21-23 June 2016
Barcelona, Spain
Abstracts for posters or oral presentations deadline: 16 March, 2016 Click here

12th Congress of European Association of Neuro-Oncology (EANO)
12-16 October 2016
Mannheim/Heidelberg, Germany
Abstract submission deadline: 31 March, 2016Click here


Upcoming conferences and events

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


International Rare Disease Day
29th February 2016
Coordinated by the European Organisation for Rare Diseases (EURORDIS), Rare Disease Day will see hundreds of patient organisations from all over the world holding awareness-raising activities for rare diseases, including brain tumours. This year has the slogan ‘Join us in making the voice of rare diseases heard’.To find out more about this important date, click here.

22nd Annual Blood-Brain-Barrier Consortium Meeting
3-5 March 2016
Stevenson, Washington, USA

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

Society for NeuroOncology Latin America (SNOLA 2016): Update on Neuro-Oncology
24-26 March 2016
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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 © 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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