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IBTA e-News

The monthly bulletin for our
international brain tumour community

March 2015

Treatment news

Study suggests that chemotherapy and radiotherapy together are effective for high-risk low grade glioma

Clinical trial findings show that a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy offers better outcomes in high-risk low grade glioma patients compared to radiotherapy alone. The research reports an improved three year survival rate (73% vs 54%). Read more.

Combining intraoperative carmustine wafers with Stupp regimen

A clinical trial published in the British Journal of Neurosurgery has concluded that carmustine-releasing wafers alongside the Stupp protocol (a regimen of radiotherapy combined with temozolomide) offers longer survival in glioblastoma patients. The study shows the best outcomes in patients receiving eight or more implanted wafers. Read more (abstract).

Daily chemotherapy may benefit some glioblastoma patients

Writing in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, a team of researchers from Italy has identified a subset of glioblastoma patients with improved survival when receiving metronomic temozolomide (daily 75 mg/m2 doses until tumour progression) compared to standard doses. This observation was made for tumours overexpressing the EGFR gene. Read more.

Policies and guidelines news

Mobile phone radiation - a European Union committee final opinion

The Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) has published their final opinion on the potential health effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields, an update to SCENIHR Opinions of 2009 in response to new research and public concern. The report concludes that there are no evident adverse health effects of electromagnetic fields at levels recommended by the EU legislation. Read more (full report available).
Published on the same day as the SCENHIR report, research in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications has concluded that radiofrequency radiation can increase tumour formation in mice treated with cancer-causing agents. This paper replicates findings from a 2010 study. Read more (abstract).

Research roundup

Tetanus vaccination may boost glioblastoma immunotherapy

An injection of tetanus toxoid the day before dendritic cell immunotherapy increases treatment effectiveness, research published in Nature has found. A small randomised trial of 12 glioblastoma patients suggests that tetanus vaccination ‘pre-conditions’ the immune system to attack glioblastoma. Read more

Cancer drug first tested on dogs to enter human trials

A phase I clinical trial of a potential new glioblastoma treatment, PAC-1, has started recruiting patients. The drug, which was first tested on dog malignancies, appears to penetrate the blood-brain barrier and is expected to work alongside other cancer treatments. Read more.

Quality of life decline seen in subset of long term low grade glioma survivors

A subset of low grade glioma survivors reports a significantly worse health related quality of life than would be expected at 12 years post diagnosis, even if the disease is stable. The research, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, however, showed that 48% of survivors experienced no such decline. Read more (free registration required).

Stereotactic radiosurgery without whole brain radiotherapy in younger brain metastases patients

A meta-analysis published in International Journal of Radiation Oncology • Biology • Physics (Red Journal) concludes that for patients under 50 years of age who have few brain metastases (under four), stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) offers longer survival if given without whole brain irradiation (WBRT). Read more.

Long-term psychiatric effects of childhood brain tumours uncovered

Physicians caring for paediatric brain tumour patients should be aware of possible long-term mental health consequences, according to research published in Child’s Nervous System. The systematic review documents increased rates of depression (19%), anxiety (20%), suicidal ideation (10.9%); and schizophrenia and its related psychoses (9.8%) in these individuals. Read more (abstract).

Improving doctor-patient communication: clinical study now recruiting

A study evaluating communication between physicians, glioblastoma patients, and caregivers is now recruiting participants at three locations in New York and New Jersey, USA. The study will look at how oncologists can best provide information about brain tumours, results and treatments. Read more.

New research tool for ketogenic diet approach in brain tumours

Researchers from Boston College, USA, have developed the ‘glucose ketone index’, an equation that can be used to monitor the effectiveness of a ketogenic diet. Published in Nutrition & Metabolism, the authors propose the index be used in future trials that investigate this nutritional intervention to slow brain tumour growth. Read more.

Should researchers use ‘progression-free survival’ to measure outcome?

Kelong Han, PhD, and colleagues argue in Neuro-Oncology that ‘progression-free survival’ in glioblastoma patients could be used as a surrogate endpoint of ‘overall survival’. Based on their previous research, they suggest that progression-free survival may allow for earlier treatment evaluation and trials that are more efficient and less confounded by subsequent therapies  Read more.

Dendritic cell vaccine ICT-107 agreed for manufacture in Europe ahead of phase III trials

ImmunoCellular Therapeutics, Ltd. has announced that an agreement has been established with Netherlands-based PharmaCell B.V. for the manufacture of ICT-107 in Europe. A potential glioblastoma immunotherapy, a phase III registrational program for ICT-107 is due to begin in the EU and USA in 2015. Read more (company press release).  

Erratum: childhood brain tumour syndrome shows ‘great flood’ of mutations

In last month’s e-News, we reported that a study investigating mutations occurring in biallelic mismatch repair deficiency (bMMRD), published in Nature Genetics, was conducted at the University of Nottingham. The University of Nottingham was a collaborating site but all the research was conducted in Toronto by Uri Tabori and his lab. We apologise for this error.

Patient advocacy news

European Patients’ Academy on Therapeutic Innovation (EUPATI) expert training course now recruiting

The EUPATI Expert Training Course offers patients and patient advocates expert-level training in medicines research and development. The course, which is open to European patient advocates across all disease areas, covers the process of medicines development from basic research, clinical trials, drug safety, benefit-risk assessment and health technology assessment. Applications are open until 31 March 2015.  The course starts in September 2015 and runs for 14 months. See the course description and application form here.

And in other news...

Ice hockey player skates on, eleven years after glioblastoma diagnosis

Long-term glioblastoma survivor Yaron Butterfield has chronicled his story of how he battled his symptoms to help his ice hockey team win a tournament. Very inspirational!  Watch online.

Singer Russell Watson discusses life as a brain tumour survivor

Famous English tenor Russell Watson, who was diagnosed with a pituitary tumour in 2006 and suffered a relapse in 2007, says that he now “lives for today”. Talking ahead of a singing tour, he discusses his experiences as a brain tumour patient. Read more.

Chilli sauce ‘saved my life’ says brain tumour patient

After sampling a hot chilli sauce at a hot-sauce shop in South Carolina, USA, Randy Schmitz suffered an epileptic seizure. A subsequent MRI brain scan revealed an undiagnosed brain tumour. The tumour was treated with surgery and radiotherapy and Randy has attributed the early diagnosis to the chilli sauce. The manufacturers have sent him a free supply, although he has yet to try it again. Read more.

Upcoming events: March-May 2015

Keep up to date with future scientific conferences and events on the IBTA website conferences page here. Below is a selection of forthcoming events:

The Indian Society of Neurooncology Conference (ISNOCON)
26-29 March 2015
Kochi, Kerala, India

EORTC-EANO-ESMO 2015 Trends in Central Nervous System Malignancies
27-28 March 2015
Istanbul, Turkey

106th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)
18-22 April 2015
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

21st Annual Neuro-Tumor Club Dinner Meeting at AACR
20 April 2015
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

83rd AANS Annual Scientific Meeting: “Neurosurgery’s Founding Principles”
2-6 May 2015
Washington, DC, USA

3rd Biennial Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Basic and Translational Science Conference
7-8 May 2015
San Diego, California, USA

2015 ASCO Annual Meeting
29 May – 2 June 2015
Chicago, Illinois, USA

BNOS Annual Meeting call for abstracts - Deadline 31st March
Annual Meeting of the British Neuro-Oncology Society (BNOS), 1 - 3 July, Nottingham, United Kingdom. Submit abstract online.

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 © 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-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.

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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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