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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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08/23/18 CLINICAL TRIAL TO DISRUPT THE BLOOD-BRAIN BARRIER FOR BRAIN TUMOR TREATMENT LAUNCHED AT UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND        

 This is a way to open the blood brain barrier to allow more of the drug to get to the tumor.  They are looking for people with suspected Glioblastoma Multiforme before they have the surgery.




08/22/18 Estimated lifetime survival benefit of tumor treating fields and temozolomide for newly diagnosed glioblastoma patients        

This is another type of analysis of the latest Optune trial for newly diagnosed GBM. Unlike most results that are published, this is for an evaluation of the health economics where they use a mathematical model to predict how long patients will live in each arm of the trial if they were observed over the course of 15 years instead of about the 5 years covered by the trial. This reports the average survivals, not the median survivals that were already presented.  The main difference is the median survival is the point at which the person at the midpoint of the trial dies. For example, if there were 500 patients, it is the point at which patient number 250 dies.  This allows them to report the information in a reasonable amount of time, but it doesn't give any insight into the long tail - patients who live for a long time.

The average adds up all of the survival times and divides by the number of patients. This is impossible to do when patients live for a long time, so this study is using a model to estimate it.   This takes into account the long term survivors.  

There are a few amazing numbers presented here.  IF you survive the first 2 years on Optune, you will have about a 17% chance of living to 15 years.  In the temodar group, that number is 8.7%.   The average life expectancy for the Optune group was 4.2 years vs. the control arm of temodar alone at 2.4 years.  An increase of 1.8 years!




08/16/18 5-Aminolevulinic acid fluorescence guided surgery for recurrent high-grade gliomas.        

 This is a dye used at the time of surgery to allow the surgeon to better setermine the difference between tumor and non tumor, allowing for a better chance at a total resection.   A total resectionn is associated with longer survival times.  It is now FDA approved and readily available!




08/14/18 The first human trials of this experimental, cancer-killing drug could change everything        

This is way too early to say it could change everything but worth keeping an eye on it. One patient did very well but they tried it in 17 patients. 10 died within 3 months.




08/01/18 Tumor Treating Fields Utilization in a Glioblastoma Patient with a Preexisting Cardiac Pacemaker: The First Reported Case.        

 At least we now know you do not have to physically remove the pacemaker to use Optune.  Unfortunately you still have to turn it off. 

Hopefully there will be more testing done so that we can keep it turned on.




07/27/18 Metformin Treatment Inhibits Motility and Invasion of Glioblastoma Cancer Cells.        

This study shows that Metformin MIGHT be useful to help other treatments work better. We know that by itself it is not going to cure a brain tumor, but the evidence shows it inhibits motility and invasion at least in the test tube.  Might be good to watch how it interacts with other treatments in the virtual trial




07/25/18 The prognostic improvement of add-on bevacizumab for progressive disease during concomitant temozolomide and radiation therapy in the patients with glioblastoma and anaplastic astrocytoma.        

 This study says that for a small group of patients (we have to be careful trusting results in small groups), overall survival was doubled by adding Avastin during or right after radiation ends for gbm patients who progress through radiation.




07/21/18 Webinar on brain cancer vaccines Sunday July 22, 2018!        

 These clinical trials are for both newly diagnosed  GBM and recurrent GBM and Anaplastic Astrocytoma (and variants) . You will be able to ask any brain tumor related questions.

 




07/16/18 Verapamil potentiates anti-glioblastoma efficacy of temozolomide by modulating apoptotic signaling.        

 About 1/2 of the USA population has high blood pressure - so it may be worthwhile to consider this drug if you have a gbm, are taking Temodar and also have high blood pressure.  This is a perfect combination to observe in the virtual trial!

 




07/10/18 Brain Tumor Webinar Series continues...        

 These events allow you to ask the experts any questions about brain tumor treatments. 

Dr Rahman is the co-principal investigator for a promising vaccine clinical trial  https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02465268  She will tell us the theory behind the vaccine and why she thinks it will help, as well as the results of an earlier trial..  This is a simple shot in the skin - not into the brain.

Dr Schulder is the director of the Brain Tumor Center at Northwell Health's Neuroscience Institute and they recently  acquired the new version of the Gamma Knife. Dr. Schulder is past president of the American Society for Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery and is vice president of the World Society for Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery.  He is one of the rare neurosurgeons who can and does treat brain tumors both with surgery and / or  radiation.

 




07/09/18 A Device that Delivers: Promising DIPG Treatment Route        

 This opens up a new way to deliver drugs!




07/09/18 IsoRay Announces FDA Clearance of GammaTile™ Therapy for the Treatment of Recurrent Brain Neoplasms        

 This gives another option for recurrent brain tumor treatment. They did not say what the results have been.  An FDA 510 K clearance is not a high hurdle - the treatment just needs to be as safe and effective as a similiar treatment that is already being marketed.  




06/30/18 Returning to work after multimodal treatment in glioblastoma patients        

 This should be a key endpoint for clinical trials for glioblastomas.  In this study, only 18% of the patients went back to work after surgery, radiation and Temodar.  Out of these who did go back to work, most were not able to resume full time work. Only about 8 out of the 125 patients were able to return to work full time.    Some of the new experimental treatments such as DCVAX and Tocagen  not only had some long term survivors, but had people working full time in high level jobs 5+ years after diagnosis.  That is really what we want to see, even more than merely "surviving".




06/26/18 Recurrent Glioblastoma Treated with Recombinant Poliovirus        

 See my editorial under the link to the full text of the article!  This is a major breakthrough and must read article!




06/22/18 Seattle Children’s aims to cure terminal brain cancer using immunotherapy with new BrainChild initiative        

 This is a CAR-T cell trial. It is accepting children with any type of recurrent brain tumor that expresses the HER-2 receptor.

 




06/21/18 Musella Foundation awards another pediatric brain tumor research grant!        

 This is an exciting project that could quickly lead to a new clinical trial for DIPG!




06/20/18 Dr. Souweidane’s Phase 1 Trial Findings Published in Lancet Oncology        

 This is the first proof that convection enhanced delivery into the brain of a kid with DIPG is safe.  There is no talk about the effectiveness of the treatment - this is just the first step - to show it is possible.  Next step is to try to see which drugs are best.




06/17/18 Pinning Down Patient Comfort With Gamma Knife Icon        

 This new version of the gamma knife doesn't require a frame screwed into the head any more!

We will be having a webinar with Dr Schulder in a few weeks to discuss this new version of the gamma knife!




06/14/18 Gamma Knife, immunotherapy combo shows promise in managing certain brain tumors        

 This is an interesting combination. Will keep an eye on it.  BTW: Northwell Health (Northshore Medical Center) on Long Island, NY just got the new version of the gamma knife.




06/13/18 Musella Foundation awards 7 brain tumor research grants!        

 A big thank you to our amazing volunteers and participants in the National Walk To End Brain Tumors!  These projects are going to make a difference fast!




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