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Note: The comments under each article title are the opinion of our president, Al Musella, DPM, and do not reflect official policy of the Musella Foundation!

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12/10/18 Musella Foundation awards 2 more pediatric brain tumor research grants!        

Both of the grants we gave out today are urgent projects that needed to be done.  Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we were able to quickly approve them - both applications were received within the last 4 days and our dedicated medical advisory board were able to evaluate and approve them quickly!

12/10/18 Survivin Vaccine for Newly Diagnosed GBM        

 This is another vaccine that is a simple shot in the arm. It is a stock treatment - it does not require tumor tissue, and  in a small trial showed a nice increase in average survival over historical controls.  These are the types of treatments that need quick approvals so everyone can get them.

12/05/18 Cancer therapy shows promise for some brain tumors        

This is the experimental drug Onc-201.    When the article says that it was largely ineffective in a pilot study for GBM, they did not point out that that study included mostly GBM patients who did not have the H3 K27M mutation, and they have since realized that this mutation makes the tumor more sensitive to this drug.

 The current clinical trials (and compassionate use program) requires the H3 K27M mutation be present. (DIPGs do not require a biopsy – it is assumed that most will have the mutation).


The mutation H3 K27M is a marker of the worst of the worst brain tumors.  Most DIPGs have it, and it is found in the midline and spinal cord gliomas usually of younger adults and kids.  Until now, there really was no hope for these tumors.  This drug gives some hope. It is not a miracle cure for everyone but it is a huge step in the right direction.  It is an oral drug with minimal side effects.  Look at your pathology reports and see if you have this mutation. If you do, ask your doctor about Onc-201.

The Musella Foundation has been a supporter of it's development since they started.

12/03/18 Functional Biological Activity of Sorafenib as a Tumor-Treating Field Sensitizer for Glioblastoma Therapy.        

 I am a big fan of Optune, and think almost all GBM patients should be on it. It is the best treatment currently available, but it is not good enough by itself.  We need to find what to add to it so that it works for everyone.  This article presents one such combination.   There are hundreds of other combinations that also need to be tested and the only way we are going to find the best combination is for us to track the outcomes of every patient who uses Optune.  We are now tracking patients in our virtual trial project. Go to and click on virtual trial to learn about it and join. It is free - but you need to commit to posting update monthly for as long as needed.  All brain tumor patients should be participating, but especially if you are considering Optune.

12/03/18 Help Us Better Understand Glioblastoma Multiforme - Paid survey!        

 This is from our friends at Pinpoint Patient Recruiting.  They are doing a survey about GBMs. They want GBM patients or caregivers to participate in an online survey, and are offering you $75 for your time.  They will also make a donation to the Musella Foundation!

Please let us know if you do the survey and your experiences with it!

11/22/18 Osteopontin mediates glioblastoma-associated macrophage infiltration and is a potential therapeutic target        

 This is one of the most important articles of the year. It opens the door for improving response to immunotherapies in brain tumors.

11/22/18 SNO 2018: Trials of Two Oncolytic Viruses for Recurrent Malignant Glioma Are Progressing        

 2 interesting treatments. Too early to tell how well they are working, as both are just trying to find the right dosage. They both have some long term survivors. Historically, the survival after recurrence for a GBM is about  7 months.  The Polio Virus Vaccine has about 20% of patients alive ranging from 36-73 months. The D2C7-IT trial has about 30% of patients alive, with 2 of them having partial responses and being alive over 8.2 and 34 months.  


Disclaimer:  The Musella Foundation has funded both treatments.

11/22/18 FDA Grants Fast Track Designation to ONC201 for the Treatment of Adult Recurrent H3 K27M-mutant High-Grade Glioma        

 This is an exciting experimental treatment for gliomas that have the H3 K27M mutation, which is usually found in DIPG, brainstem glioma, Spinal Cord Gliomas, Midline Gliomas, And gliomas in the Thalamus.  The Musella Foundation has been supporting this treatment for years, giving 3 grants to help speed up the development!


11/22/18 The impact of traveling distance and hospital volume on post-surgical outcomes for patients with glioblastoma.        

 This paper shows that it is worth traveling to a major brain tumor center.

11/20/18 SNO Highlights        

SNO is an amazing meeting. Aside from all of the presentations, I got to meet and talk with many brain tumor researchers and physicians and discuss what they think are the best treatments, what is needed to advance the field, what is slowing down progress and much more.

We also were able to interact with many other brain tumor nonprofits. There was some resistance in the past to working together but I think the last barriers were recently removed and you are going to see a lot more collaboration now.   We are all about collaboration.  Working together we will be able to accomplish much more than any of us could individually.  

11/20/18 Musella Foundation 2018 Highlights        

 As the year comes to a close, we reflect back on what was accomplished.  This was a really exciting year for brain tumors.  We feel that we are on the cusp of a major breakthrough. Everything is coming together - many clinical trials are reporting long term survivors in a small % of patients.  Our goal is to speed up the approvals for these treatments so doctors can combine them in cocktails and get long term survivors for most  brain tumor patients!

11/11/18 Mebendazole and radiation in combination increase survival through anticancer mechanisms in an intracranial rodent model of malignant meningioma.        

 Mebendazole is an old, cheap, easily available drug approved for  treating worm infestations.  This paper (and many others) suggest it might be useful for treatments brain tumors, especially when combined with radiation. This article is about meningiomas but other articles mention GBM and Medulloblastomas!


11/10/18 The role of erlotinib and the Optune device in a patient with an epidermal growth factor receptor viii amplified glioblastoma.        

 In the case presented, the patient had a GBM but was allergic to Temodar so they had to try something different.   They tried erltinib and Optune, which has resulted in stable disease for at least 9 months after radiation.  It is only 1 case but shows brilliant thinking on the part of this patient's team. They chose Optune, which is the obvious choice, but since the patient overexpressed EGFR, they also added erlotinib.  More research needs to be done on such combinations of Optune and therapies personalized to the patient!

11/08/18 Hebrew U Researchers Discover Promising Treatment Against Aggressive Brain Tumors        

 This is just in mice at this point but it is an exciting new approach. I wish them luck and will be following this!

11/08/18 Late toxicity in long-term survivors from a phase 2 study of concurrent radiation therapy, temozolomide and valproic acid for newly diagnosed glioblastoma.        

 Adding Valproic Acid to the standard radiation and Temodar for GBM might help a lot without adding any more long term problems.

11/07/18 ONC201 Investigator Meeting and Clinical Efficacy in H3 K27M-mutant Glioma to be Presented at Society for Neuro-Oncology Conference        

 I am a little biased on this one as we gave them 3 grants - including our largest ever - to help get them to this point.  They will be  presenting 10 abstracts at next week's Society for Neuro-Oncology conference in New Orleans.  This experimental drug - Onc-201 is the first of it's class - a DRD2/ DRD3 antagonist. Early results were very impressive, and we are hoping they present exciting news next week!   

11/02/18 Prospective feasibility and safety assessment of surgical biopsy for patients with newly diagnosed diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma        

 This study shows that biopsy of DIPG is not as dangerous as we thought.  Years ago it was never done due to the dangers involved but with advances in pediatric neurosurgery, this study shows that in 53 patients, 2 had problems in surgery that resolved, and only 1 had long term neurological deficit. Of course if you are that one out of 53, it is horrible, but kids with this tumor all develop neuro problems and most die quickly.  In the past it was not worth the risk as even if they were able to do a biopsy, it wouldn't matter much as there were no treatments anyway. Now we have access to a lot of targeted treatments that may help.


10/23/18 A 150-Year-Old Drug Might Improve Radiation Therapy for Cancer        

 This is early work but since it is an approved drug for a different disease,  it should be easy and fast to test as it can be used off label. I added it as a choice in the virtual trial so if anyone tries it, record it in our virtual trial registry so we can get an idea of if it helps or not.  (  click on virtual trial)

10/17/18 PVSRIPO (Polio Vaccine) clinical trial now open in 4 brain tumor centers!        

 This is one of my favorite trials and has just opened up in CA, MA and FL in addition to NC. The pediatric version is still only in NC.

Disclaimer: I am on the advisory board of the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke University, and have given grants towards these projects.

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