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12/19/17 JAMA Publishes Final Analysis of EF-14 Phase 3 Pivotal Trial of Optune® Together with Temozolomide Demonstrating Unprecedented Survival Results for Newly Diagnosed Glioblastoma        

 This is the final report of the Optune trial for newly diagnosed GBM.  It should set the new standard of care for GBM to include Optune.

12/07/17 Recurrent glioma clinical trial, CheckMate-143: the game is not over yet        

 This article looks at the failure of the Nivolumab trial and tries to show why it failed and how we can overcome those failures. This trial used Nivolumab as a monotherapy at the time of first recurrence and it failed to show an improvement in overall survival. The authors say that it may work better in combination with some other treatments that boost the immune system, such as radiation, vaccines or other immunotherpaies.  It also may work better with newly diagnosed instead of recurrent patients.


12/06/17 FDA Grants Genentech’s Avastin Full Approval for Most Aggressive Form of Brain Cancer        

 This is great news.  I was worried that they would remove the approval based on the study mentioned.  The study showed "no significant increase in overall survival".   That study did not take into account how Avastin is used in the real world.  In the real world it is used in combination with many other things and is a very useful drug.  Our virtual trial is tracking the combinations.  One that looks exceptionally good (although only 4 patients used the combination) is Avastin plus Optune.  2 of the 4 patients died, but they survived an average of 30 months. The other 2 are alive - one for 22 months so far and the other an amazing over 8 years.

12/04/17 A novel immuno-oncology approach to treating a rare childhood brain cancer        

 This is a very exciting new treatment for one of the worst diseases that could happen to kids.

12/03/17 Correction regarding dose of Avastin in an old article        

 This correction just came out. In this article about Avastin for GBMs from 2008, they used the wrong units for the dosage calculation. The correct units are mg per kilogram, not the mg per square meter of body surface area that they originally reported.  The difference is huge. For a typical 200 pound 6' tall patient, at 5mg per square meter, the incorrect dose would be about 10mg of Avastin.  Using the correct formula, 5mg per kg,  it would be about 450 mg.   Note that the correct dose of Avastin is not really known. Some use 5mg per kg, some 10mg per kg and some higher doses.

12/03/17 Tumor response of temozolomide in combination with morphine in a xenograft model of human glioblastoma.        

 This was only in mice, but it shows that using morphine might make temodar work better.  

12/02/17 Inhibition of polo-like kinase 4 (PLK4): a new therapeutic option for rhabdoid tumors and pediatric medulloblastoma        

 This research found a new target for these devastating pediatric brain tumors - and there are drugs available that can hit these targets so it may offer hope for these patients.  This project was funded by the Musella Foundation.     We are saving up for the next step in this research.

12/02/17 Researchers identify vulnerability for glioblastoma subtypes        

 This type of research is the key to finding the cure.  All of the treatments that have failed phase 2 and 3 trials should be retested to try to figure out why there was enough success in the phase 1 trial to justify the phase 2, then having the subsequent trial fail.  Most likely there is a subtype of tumor that IS sensitive to the treatment.  

12/02/17 Novel Agents for GBM and Glioma From SNO 2017        

Dr.  Peereboom  talks about the highlights from SNO

12/02/17 Key Trials on Gliomas at SNO 2017        

 Dr. Stupp's take on highlights from SNO

12/02/17 SNO 2017: No Unexpected Safety Issues Arise With Tumor Treating Fields in Glioblastoma Patients With Shunts, Pacemakers, or Defibrillators        

 The package inserts warns against using Optune if you have an implanted defibrillator  or a programmable shunt.  However, they looked at patients in the trials who had these devices implanted and used Optune anyway, and found that there were no safety problems.

12/02/17 SNO 2017: Toca 511/FC Lead to Durable Responses in IDH1 Wildtype and Mutant Recurrent High-Grade Glioma        

 The cool thing is that all of the responders still do not have a recurrence.  Way too early to be talking about a cure - and it is a small group of patients,  but  ALL of the IDH1 mutant high grade glioma patients had a complete response, which has lasted 2-4 years so far. 

12/02/17 Promising target for treating brain tumors in children        

 This is a press release about the research I mentioned in a previous news blast article!

12/02/17 Novocure (NVCR) Announces Reimbursement Approval for Optune in Japan for Treatment of Newly Diagnosed GBM        

 After the data that they announced at the last SNO meeting (, it would be criminal for them to not pay for it.

12/02/17 Novel Agents for GBM: A Review of Trials at SNO 2017        

 Dr. Wen talks  about the latest clinical trials!

12/01/17 FDA Aims to Expand Early-Approval Program for Promising Drugs        

 Sounds exactly like what we are proposing, but without the virtual trial concept!  We need to get them to consider the virtual trial! See

11/24/17 Effectiveness of ONC201 in H3 K27M Glioma to be Presented at SNO        

 This H3 K27M mutation is a marker for the worst prognostic group of brain tumors, and as far as I know, this is the first drug in clinical trials to target this mutation.  Aside from being present in some of the worst GBMs, it is present in most DIPG tumors.

11/24/17 Ziopharm says its brain cancer drug helped trial patients live more than a year        

 This is a gene therapy that is showing some impressive results in an early trial!

11/24/17 Inovio Starts Trial Testing Triple-combo Immunotherapy in Newly-diagnosed Glioblastoma        

 I love combinations like this. I believe that it might be impossible to cure GBMs with just a single approach. 

11/22/17 Medicenna Presents Updates on Phase 2b Clinical Trial of MDNA55 at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Neuro-Oncology        

This shows that the convection enhanced delivery methods have improved to the point where they can get the drug, on average,  to over 75% of the tumor, and it should only get better with more experience.  They compare this to the PRECISE trial where the drug only got to about 20% of the tumor.

Here is a link to the poster.

There is a phase 2 clinical trial going on now for this treatment, MDNA55, in patients with recurrent or progressive GBM.

Disclaimer: Medicenna Therapeutics is a sponsor of the Musella Foundation

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