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IBTA e-News

The monthly bulletin for our
international brain tumour community

July 2015

Treatment news

Bevacizumab (Avastin) extends survival in glioblastoma patient subset, study suggests

A secondary analysis of 349 tumour specimens from two completed phase III bevacizumab trials (AVAglio and RTOG-0825) has shown that bevacizumab may offer a better outcome in a specific glioblastoma subset. Patients with ‘proneural IDH1 wild-type’ tumours who received bevacizumab (alongside standard care) were found to have significantly improved overall survival compared with those with different subtypes (17.1 vs. 12.8 months). Further studies to validate this finding have been called for. Read more.

Proton radiation therapy: well tolerated in adults but “high incidence” of brain necrosis in children

A study of 60 consecutive paediatric brain tumour patients treated with proton radiation therapy has shown that necrosis (‘death’) of brain tissue is a common MRI finding. Occurring more commonly in children receiving multiple chemotherapy treatments, of those who experienced radiation necrosis, 25% had severe symptoms needing medical intervention. Read more (abstract).
In separate research published in the journal Cancer, proton therapy was found to be well tolerated in adults with grade II glioma and without a decline in cognitive function or quality of life. A subset of patients developed hormone disturbances, however. Read more. And in the International Journal of Particle Therapy, a study of 20 adult patients with recurrent gliomas (grade I/II - IV) concluded that re-irradiation with proton radiotherapy was well tolerated and a “modest” 10% rate of radiation necrosis was observed. Read more (full article).

Adding carboplatin to bevacizumab does not improve outcome in recurrent glioblastoma

A randomised trial involving 122 patients with recurrent glioblastoma has found that adding carboplatin, an established chemotherapy agent used in other cancers, to bevacizumab is no better than giving bevacizumab alone. Combination with carboplatin also resulted in more toxicity. Read more (abstract).

Study finds Grade II and III astrocytoma patients are living longer

Over a ten year period in the USA, survival has improved in astrocytoma grades II and III, according to an analysis of the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) data. During the period 1999 - 2010, grade II astrocytoma survival increased from 44 to 57 months and in grade III survival increased from 15 to 24 months. There was no significant change in survival for grade I tumours. Read more.

Research roundup

Nutrients turn on brain tumour growth

The availability of glucose or acetate, two abundant “fuel” sources for the brain, may accelerate tumour growth, according to research in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The nutrients activated a central cellular signal called mTORC2 which in turn increased tumour metabolism. Glucose and acetate may also lead to resistance to some targeted therapies, the researchers found. Read more.

Brain tumour risk lower in people with diabetes

Published in Neuro-Oncology, an analysis of patient records has shown that the risk of glioma is reduced in people with diabetes. The association was most marked in men and those with high HbA1c levels (a marker of poor blood sugar control). Read more (abstract).

Biodegradable nanoparticles developed to deliver gene therapy to brain tumours

A nanoparticle transport system has been tested on rats that inserts DNA encoding a virus enzyme (HSVtk) into glioma cells, which ultimately results in tumour destruction when exposed to the antiviral drug ganciclovir. The authors hope that these biodegradable nanoparticles will offer a more successful brain tumour treatment than previously tried virus-based gene therapy techniques. Read more.

Research finds two potential drugs for glioma and breast cancer

Two potential drug candidates have been identified in research published in Cancer Research. The compounds, called SH5-07 and SH4-54, were found to inhibit Stat3, a protein involved in the growth of a variety of cancers. When tested in tumour cells and in mouse glioma and breast tumours, both compounds prevented growth. Read more.

Extensive genetic study discovers new anaplastic oligodendroglioma mutation

Open-access research published in Nature Communications has discovered that mutations in a specific gene, TCF12, occur in the most aggressive types of anaplastic oligodendroglioma. 134 tumours were genetically sequenced and 7.5% of these had mutations in TCF12. Read more.

Genetic and Epigenetic drivers for glioma and glioblastoma growth found

Research published in Cell Reports has found that the Ets family of genes, which are involved in a cellular signalling pathway inside neurons, regulate glioma growth and that by blocking these genes, tumour growth can be prevented. Read more.

Two studies in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences have explored how brain tumour growth is affected by epigenetic changes – chemical modifications that control which genes are turned on or off. Both the enzyme Lysine-Specific Demethylase 1 (LSD1) and the relationship between bromodomain protein BRD4 and the molecule HOTAIR have been shown to be important for glioblastoma growth. (Read more here and here.)

Ophthalmology imaging technology may aid brain tumour surgery

Researchers from Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, USA, have examined whether optical coherence tomography (OCT) – an imaging technology that uses low energy light – could be used to aid brain tumour resection surgery. OCT is widely used in ophthalmology. The study in Science Translational Medicine showed that OCT can accurately identify brain tumour tissue in human samples and living rodents. Read more.

Company news

Novocure launch ‘TTFields’ clinical trials website

A website designed to help cancer patients looking to enrol in a clinical trial investigating ‘Tumor Treating Fields’ has been launched at One ongoing trial (COMET) is currently recruiting patients with brain metastases that have arisen from lung cancer. 

Blaze Biosciences' BLZ-100 ‘tumour paint’ granted Orphan Status by US FDA

BLZ-100 is a drug given by intravenous injection that circulates within the body and ‘light ups’ cancer cells with fluorescent dye, making surgical resection more accurate. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted the treatment orphan drug designation, a special status given to drugs for rare diseases. Read more.

Brain tumour community news

Calling all artists in Canada! Exhibition opportunity for anyone affected by brain tumours

To mark Canadian Brain Tumour Awareness Month in August, the Patient Family Advisory Council of the British Columbia Cancer Agency, Canada, in partnership with the Visual Space Gallery in Vancouver, BC, Canada, is inviting art submissions from anyone in Canada who has been affected by a brain tumour. The exhibit will be held October 7 - 13, 2015 and the deadline to express intent is July 31st. Read more.

Official launch of ‘Top 10’ research priorities for brain and spinal cord tumours

The UK-based James Lind Alliance Neuro-Oncology Priority Setting Partnership has officially unveiled the ‘top 10’ research priorities for brain and spinal cord tumours at the British Neuro-Oncology Society Annual Meeting 2015, Nottingham, UK, on July 1st. The list of priorities is the culmination of an 18 month process involving patients, carers and clinicians, and it is hoped that these treatment uncertainties will become the focus of future research. Read more (European School of Oncology blog article by the IBTA’s Digital Technology Advisor, Stuart Farrimond).

Will you walk for brain tumours? Register and report your walk for Walk Around the World for Brain Tumours 2015

Many thanks to all those organisations around the globe who have already let us know about their walks taking place throughout this year and who have registered with us to donate their symbolic mileage to the IBTA’s "Walk Around the World for Brain Tumours". Please be sure to register your walks for this year by going to the IBTA website  and completing the register/report form here.

We also want to hear all about those walks that have already taken place since January and to receive the symbolic mileage ‘donation’ from these.  Please visit the IBTA website where you will find a form for registering and/or reporting your walk, plus information on where to send photographs. Last year we raised awareness of brain tumours by symbolically encircling the world nearly thirteen times - wouldn’t it be great if we can walk even further in 2015?

Get ready for the 2015 International Brain Tumour Awareness Week

The 9th International Brain Tumour Awareness Week will be held from Sunday, 25th October to Saturday, 31st October.  We'd be delighted if you would organise an activity that will contribute to increased awareness about brain tumours.

It could be a walk (see above), a picnic, an information seminar, a scientific conference, or the distribution of a statement to local media which draws attention to the particular challenges of a brain tumour and the need for a special response and an increased research effort. For further details of the International Brain Tumour Awareness Week, including a list of FAQS, please click here.

Please register/report your Awareness Week activity by completing this form.

Don't forget to tell us your organisation’s news!

We warmly invite the IBTA’s collaborating brain tumour patient organisations to keep us up-to-date with their news.  Please let us know what your organisation is doing to advocate for better brain tumour care and support so that we can share information about your activities via this e-News, to inform and inspire others in our international community.

And in other news...

Opera singer Dmitri Hvorostovsky cancels shows after brain tumour diagnosis

World famous Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky has been diagnosed with a brain tumour according to an official announcement on his website. All performances until the end of August have been cancelled while he receives treatment. He reports that his voice has been unaffected and he “remains very optimistic for the future". Read more.

Glioblastoma survivor publishes book – seventeen years after diagnosis

Freelance writer Lisa Reisman was diagnosed with a glioblastoma in 1998. Defying the odds, she completed a triathlon ten years later and has now released a book, 5 Months 10 Years 2 hours, chronicling her journey. Read more (with video).

Conference news

Call for abstracts: 8th COGNO Meeting - deadline 11th August (Extended)

8th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Co-operative Trials Group for Neuro-Oncology (COGNO)
23-24 October 2015
Brisbane, Australia

Abstracts can be submitted here.

Call for abstracts: 5th Annual Brain Mets Congress – deadline 31st August

5th Annual Brain Metastases Research and Emerging Therapies Conference
2-3 October 2015
Marseille, France

Abstracts can be submitted here.

A travel grant is available for three ‘young investigators’ worth € 600 (USA), € 600 (ASIA) & € 300 (Europe) to support travel expenses. Read more.

Upcoming conferences

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


15th Interim Meeting of the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies (WFNS)
8-12 September 2015
Rome, Italy

II International Symposium on Clinical and Basic Investigation in Glioblastoma “GBM 2015″
9-12 September 2015
Toledo, Spain

One Day Against Brain Tumors
11 September 2015
Ferrara, Italy

Paediatric Oncology Solid Tumour Study Day
14 September 2015
London, UK

12th Annual Meeting of the Asian Society for Neuro-Oncology (ASNO 2015) – “Neuro-Oncology Challenges in a Diverse Asia”
17-20 September 2015
Manila, Philippines

The Brain and Gliomas – “When The Connections Are Crucial”
24-26 September 2015
Brescia, Italy

18th ECCO-40th ESMO European Cancer Congress: Reinforcing Multidisciplinarity
25-29 September 2015
Vienna, Austria

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.

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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