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Conferences / Events

  • UCLA 17th Annual Brain Tumor Conference
    • Dates: March 10-11, 2017

    • Location: UCLA Carnesale Commons, 251 Charles E. Young Drive West, 3rd Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90095

    • Contact: Luzianne Fernandez

    • Phone: (310) 206-3610

    • Email Address:

    • Online Registration:

    • Join brain tumor survivors, families, caregivers, and healthcare professionals at the 17th Annual UCLA Brain Tumor Conference, hosted by the UCLA Brain Tumor Center. This free conference will offer participants the opportunity to hear leading healthcare professionals speak about the latest treatments for brain tumors, symptom management, community resources and social support.

    • Educational sessional will cover topics such as in-depth information on tumors types, neurosurgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, updates in experimental treatments, nutrition, neuropsychology and brain tumors, clinical trials, symptom management, psycho-social support, creative arts therapies, navigating health insurance, end of life issues, and much more.

Brain Tumor News!

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02/21/17 Help us better Understand Patient Experiences with Glioblastoma Multiforme        

 This is a survey from a market research group.  If you participate in a phone call, they will send you $125, and the Musella Foundation also gets a donation!    This is only for GBM patients or people who care for a gbm patient.

  Let me know if you participate!

02/09/17 VBI Vaccines Building On Duke University Research for New Cancer Therapy        

Exciting.  Early trials of the vaccine looked good.

02/09/17 Trials Open for Enrollment: Phase II Study of VAL-083 in Patients with MGMT-unmethylated Bevacizumab-naïve Recurrent Glioblastoma Multiforme        

 I have talked about Val-083 a lot over the last year. The trial is finally open.  This is a great option for recurrent GBM patients with unmethylated MGMT.

02/07/17 DelMar Pharmaceuticals Inc (DMPI) Moves Forward With Flagship Chemotherapy Into Phase II        

 This is an open label trial - which means we should be able to find out how good it works quickly. Hopefully by the end of this year.

02/06/17 NW Bio Announces Lifting of Clinical Hold on DCVax®-L Phase III Trial By FDA        

There is no mention of why there was a hold in the first place. It makes no sense to me that they have to wait for 233 people to die before they can analyze the data.  If we ever have a cure, these methods insure that we will never see it because the trials would never end.

02/04/17 17th Annual UCLA Brain Tumor Conference        

 This is an excellent conference. Worth going to!


02/04/17 Optimism and Opportunity as we Initiate Clinical Trials for MGMT-unmethylated GBM Patients at MD Anderson        

 This is a blog post from the chairman of the company that makes Val-083.   I think this trial will accrue patients faster than they predict as the early results are impressive and there really are not many competing trials looking for this patient population:  Patients with GBM who have failed Avastin and have unmethylated MGMT.  Worth looking at this trial.

02/04/17 Development of the SIOPE DIPG network, registry and imaging repository: a collaborative effort to optimize research into a rare and lethal disease        

 This is an international collaboration to try to find the cure of DIPG. DIPG is a rare brain tumor that mostly affects children.  Since it is so rare, no one institution has enough patients to figure out the answers we need to cure this devastating disease. By working together, it will greatly speed up the progress.

The Musella Foundation is mentioned in the article as one of the funders!


02/04/17 FDA Grants New Clearance for Brain Surgery Technology        

 These 2 new approvals should help make brain tumor surgery safer, and also may turn some inoperable tumors into operable ones!

02/04/17 Northwell Health is First on Long Island to Acquire Synaptive Medical’s BrightMatter™ Technology for Complex Brain Tumor and Spinal Surgery        

 This technology will help make braintumor surgery safer, and may also make some tumors that were thought inoperable, operable!

Disclosure: I am on the patient advisory board of this medical center!

02/04/17 Researchers at Yale have taken steps toward a ‘completely unexpected’ new way to treat brain cancer        

 Interesting use of an already approved drug for brain tumors with IDH mutations. It hasn't been tried in clinical trials yet.

02/04/17 New Brain Cancer Coalition Announces Precision Medicine Study During CHOP Event        

 I love collaborations like this. It will help speed up the search for the cure. An interesting part of this is that Independent Blue Cross will pay for the genomic testing of the patients for their patients.  Cost was a big stumbling block for some similar projects.

The Musella Foundation helped fund some of the early work on this!

01/28/17 The Musella Foundation announced that it has awarded a $25,000 brain tumor research grant        

This project involves a new material that can be 3-d printed into the shape of a bone flap, which can be inserted when the original bone flap created during a brain tumor surgery, can't be used (such as for infections or necrosis).  This new material quickly transforms into real bone.

01/26/17 Out of Warburg Effect: an effective cancer treatment targeting the tumor specific metabolism and dysregulated pH.        

 I like the approach. We had a few articles recently on this approach. Maybe combining some would make sense.

01/25/17 Combination therapy for glioblastoma shows promising results in early-stage research        

 This project is funded, in part, by the Musella Foundation!

It shows that that the vaccine can be enhanced significantly by using other immune modulating drugs.  The  full text of the article is not available for free, only the abstract is free.  The full text shows how strong the effect is when using each treatment separately, then in all combinations.  It is a major improvement.

This project also shows, I think for the first time, that the immune suppression caused by PD-L1 is created by tumor-infiltrating myeloid cells and not directly by the tumor cells, which is what I always assumed.  The huge significance of this is that doing a biopsy of a tumor  and testing for PD-L1 on the tumor cells shouldn't make any difference to how the treatment would work.  

I would love to see this being done in humans.

01/25/17 Correction to: Brain Surgery Made Safer With New Smart Needle        

 Sorry - the link I posted yesterday had a space in it and didn't work. It is now fixed.

01/25/17 ‘Tumor Shrinking’ Drug Shows Promise In Dogs Before Clinical Trials On Humans        

Sounds promising. Might not be a cure by itself - but may be another tool that we have to use in combinational therapies.

01/25/17 Antiangiogenic treatments prolong OS in glioblastoma subgroup        

 This is exciting.  They found that  Avastin can more than double the survival for patients who have highly vascularized tumors.  The test they use - perfusion MRI is readily available.  This shows how antiquated our clinical trial system is.  It is going to be very hard to find a single treatment that cures everyone.  Until we find that, we have to use what we have.  That is many treatments that each help a small group  tremendously, helps a little in a larger group, and not at all in others.  Avastin failed when they did a trial mixing all patients.  The best way to have run the trial is to test early to see how the treatment is doing, and figure out which subgroups benefit and which do not. At that point, they should stop accruing patients that they know will not do well - let them try other trials.  But we are not doing that now. (There is some work going on to try this - called adaptive trial design - but it is not widespread).   Obviously, the best way is to get as many of these treatments approved so we can use them in rational combinations. Figure out which treatments will help YOUR particular tumor, and combine the few that look best. 

01/25/17 DelMar Pharmaceuticals and MD Anderson Initiate New Phase Two Clinical Trial of VAL-083 for MGMT-unmethylated Recurrent Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM)        

 This is one of the more promising trials.  Val-083 is a new chemotherapy that works similar to the way Temozolomide works, except at a different location, so the MGMT repair enzyme can not undo the damage.  If there is a lot of MGMT repair enzyme around, (sometimes pathology reports call this unmethylated MGMT genes)  temozolomide has a much smaller chance of helping, so something else is needed.  

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