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Brain Tumor News!

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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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.

10/12/18 Live Facebook Event about Optune on Oct 22, 2018        

 These events are always interesting to watch!

10/12/18 Checkpoint Blockade Reverses Anergy in IL-13Ra2 Humanized scFv-Based CAR T Cells to Treat Murine and Canine Gliomas.        

 This type of treatment worked miracles in other types of cancer. The first attempt in human glioblastoma wasn't spectacular but these researchers may have found a way to make it work at least in dogs and rats.  Lets hope it translates to people! 

10/12/18 Bevacizumab: Is the lower the better for glioblastoma patients in progression?        

 This one is hard to interpret.  The authors say that a low dose is just as effective as the standard dose of Avastin, but with less side effects (and less cost).   They should have included the control gorup of patients who do not use Avastin. But it is something to think about.

10/04/18 Novocure Announces 55 Presentations at European Association of Neuro-Oncology Meeting 2018        

This shows that Optune has finally hit the mainstream.  55 presentations at the major European brain tumor conference.  Many of these are looking at ways to improve the outcomes, including new types of arrays, new placement of arrays for tumors lower in the skill and for pediatric patients.

09/20/18 Experimental drug 'nothing short of miraculous' for father of 4 with super-rare brain tumor        

 This is the drug that we recently gave a million dollar grant to help support and speed up it's development!  The mutation (H3K27 M)  is very common in DIPG, and common in midline and thalmic malignant gliomas, more so in younger GBM patients.  This experimental drug is in clinical trials. Check your pathology report to see if you have this mutation.  If you do, contact us and we can help you find a trial. (It is so common in DIPG that  no biopsy is needed to get into the trials for that tumor type - it is assumed they all have this)

09/17/18 Inhibition of Radiation and Temozolomide-Induced Invadopodia Activity in Glioma Cells Using FDA-Approved Drugs.        

 I love this type of research.  Invadopoia are small projections from the edges of tumnor cells that help allow them to move.  Without the ability to move, the tumor is much less dangerous and more sensitive to normal treatments. This is a highly underappreciated target and they found 2 existing drugs which may target this.  Of course, it is just theory now and needs to be tested but it is a promising approach!

09/14/18 Brain Tumor Webinar Series: Gamma Knife Radiosurgery Sunday, 9/16/18        

 Dr Schulder will be speaking about the new version of the Gamma Knife, but will also answer questions on any brain tumor related topic!

09/14/18 Effects of tumor treating fields (TTFields) on glioblastoma cells are augmented by mitotic checkpoint inhibition.        

 I am a big fan of Optune. It is the most effective approved treatment for gbms,  but it is not good enough by itself. We need to find ways to make it work better.  There are about 16 clinical trials going on now that involve Optune and ways to make it work better.   Any of these trials are worthwhile to try.  Experiments like this are needed to identify candidates for the trials. 

09/13/18 Moleculin’s Brain Cancer Drug Candidate Begins Patient Dosing at Clinical Trial Being Conducted at MD Anderson        

 This is a new STAT3 inhibitor. STAT3 has been known as a good target for brain tumors but until now we did not have a good drug to target it. This was just the first in human doses of the drug so it is way too early to tell if it will work, but it may become an important tool in the ultimate cocktail.

09/13/18 Researchers make breakthrough in understanding aggressive brain cancer        

 Researchers at Duke identified why brain tumor patients have such low t cell counts - as low as that of AIDs patients.  Now we just need to figure out how to use this information!

09/10/18 Patient Foundation Collaboration to Advance ONC201 in DIPG and other H3 K27M-mutant Gliomas        

 This project will speed up the development of a drug (Onc-201) that has shown promise in early trials for DIPG as well as high grade gliomas that have a specific mutation called H3 K27m. If you have DIPG or a high grade glioma with that mutation, give us a call.

 This is a one million dollar grant, to be paid in 4 equal payments over the next 3 years. We gave the first $250,000 payment today!  I am going to need help raising the rest of the money!  This is one of the most important projects that we have ever worked on and we need to raise the money for the next payment in a few months.  Contact us for details.


09/10/18 NCI and Musella Foundation Award Grants for ONC201 Trials in Adult and Pediatric Brain Tumors        

 I would like to emphasis that this is a collaboration between the Musella Foundation, the Cure Starts Now Foundation, and the Michael Mosier Defeat DIPG Foundation! we couldn't have done this without them. 


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