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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 8:13 am 
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Brain Cancer vaccine

A brain cancer trial that uses a patient’s tumour to develop their own personalised vaccine is being piloted for the first time in the UK.

King’s College London and King’s College Hospital – both part of King’s Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre – will be the first in the UK to jointly trial the DCVax® therapy which is already significantly extending life for patients in a US trial.

From July, King’s will begin recruiting patients newly diagnosed with Glioblastoma mulltiforme (GBM) - the most common and most aggressive primary malignant form of brain cancer.

Current survival time in the UK following Glioblastoma diagnosis is around 12 -18 months. However, in two initial clinical trials in the US, the vaccine delayed the recurrence of the tumour to two years, and extended patients’ average survival to three years – without toxic side effects.

Patients with suspected Glioblastoma undergo immediate surgery to remove as much of the tumour as possible. Patients on the trial will have the same surgery but the removed tumour will be sent to a specialised facility at King’s College London. There, experts will use each patient’s tumour to develop a personalised vaccine using the DCVax® immune therapy.

Following six weeks of standard combined radiotherapy and chemotherapy, the first personalised vaccine will be administered as a simple injection under the skin in the arm. There will be up to ten injections in total, administered over a two year period.

Mr Keyoumars Ashkan, Lead for Neuro-Oncology at King’s College Hospital said: 'We are pleased to be leading the way in bringing these novel immune therapies to patients in the UK. Brain cancers are some of the most lethal cancers, and there is a great need for new and better treatments.

'The positive data from the clinical trials in the US were very encouraging in delaying disease progression and extending survival times, without significant toxic side effects. We are hopeful that similar results will be seen in the large, randomised clinical trial which we are now helping to bring to the UK.'

King’s sees and treats hundreds of Glioblastoma patients each year, many of whom are in their 40’s and 50’s. Symptoms of Glioblastoma include severe headaches, nausea, vomiting, fits, dizziness and speech problems.

Farzin Farzaneh, Professor of Molecular Medicine and head of cGMP cell product manufacturing at King’s College London, said: 'We are excited to be undertaking the manufacture of the vaccine here at King’s. Such immune therapies represent an exciting new class of products, and we are pleased to apply our expertise and facilities for cell therapy to help bring DCVax® immune therapies to the UK and to collaborating centres in Europe.'

DCVax® is a personalised immune therapy developed by US company Northwest Biotherapeutics.

http://www.healthcanal.com/cancers/2927 ... ccine.html


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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 8:17 am 
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Stem cells could shield healthy tissue from chemotherapy

Stem cells transplanted into the brain may offer protection against the side effects of chemotherapy, say US researchers.

A study involving three patients with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer, isolated stem cells extracted from the patients' bone marrow. Using a virus, a gene was inserted into the stem cells' DNA which protected the cells against the side effects of a chemotherapy drug. The cells were then put back into the patient.

The three patients survived an average of 22 months - the average survival for patients with the type of glioblastoma is just one year.

'We found that patients were able to tolerate the chemotherapy better and without negative side effects after transplantation of the gene-modified stem cells', said Professor Hans-Peter Kiem at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, which carried out the study. 'This compares with patients in previous studies who received the same type of chemotherapy without a transplant of gene-modified stem cells'.

Many types of glioblastoma are resistant to a chemotherapy agent, temozolomide, because they possess a gene called MGMT that repairs the damaged cancer cells. Patients are given benzylguanine to block this gene, but the side-effect is that the drug also makes healthy bone marrow cells sensitive to damage. 'Without those cells, patients become very susceptible to infections', explained Professor Kiem. 'Then they can't get the appropriate amount of chemotherapy because they have to stop treatment'.

By reintroducing the patients' bone marrow cells with a modified version of MGMT, called P140K, the cells are protected from both benzylguanine and the effects of chemotherapy. 'P140K can repair the damage caused by chemotherapy and is impervious to the effects of benzylguanine', said Professor Kiem.

Professor Susan Short of Cancer Research UK said: 'This is a very interesting study and a completely new approach to protecting normal cells during cancer treatment'.

'It needs to be tested in more patients but it may mean that we can use temozolomide for more brain tumour patients than we previously thought', Professor Short continued. 'This approach could also be a model for other situations where the bone marrow is affected by cancer treatment'.

http://www.bionews.org.uk/page_144245.asp


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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 1:04 pm 
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Tiny Drugs, Bursts of Light

(dailyRx)Cancers are greedy little cells, consuming more than their fair share of everything available. A treatment recently developed takes advantage of that, and then uses special, focused light to destroy tumors.

Scientists in the past decade have developed a field they call theranostics, combining the word therapy and diagnostic to refer to a treatment that also helps doctors understand better what disease they are currently dealing with.

Ask your oncologist about theranostics.

Researchers from Case Western University outlined a two stage process to treat an aggressive brain cancer called glioblastoma multiforme, using nanotechnology to destroy cancer cells.

The first stage delivers a nano-meter sized drug that accumulates in the tumor. The second stage activates the drug, causing widespread tumor death.

While the treatment is still in the experimental stages of development in the laboratory, testing has shown that the concept works well. The tumor cells were able to be targeted to the brain tumor, easily crossing the blood brain barrier that stops most cancer drugs in their tracks.

The technique works by attaching miniscule particles of gold to each molecule of drug, allowing it to cross the blood brain barrier.

Once the drug filters into the brain, it begins to build up in the tumor a lot more quickly than in other parts of the brain.

During brain surgery, surgeons shine a special type of light on the tumor, which activates the drug phthalocyanine 4 (Pc 4), avoiding the need to perform surgery directly on the brain itself.

So far the researchers state they have been able to target tumors specifically, meaning that normal brain cells would be far less affected by this treatment, especially in comparison to traditional surgery.

By combining the accumulation of the drug with the light activation, tumor destruction becomes very specific, an important quality in any surgery dealing with brain tissue. Further development of this light-activated nanoparticle drug would be a step up from current treatments.

So far, drastic treatments for glioblastoma multiforme have used viruses to kill the tumor, or intense amounts of chemotherapy, and radiation, but so far scientists have been unable to stop this very aggressive stage of brain cancer for very long.

Research presented at conferences is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

No financial disclosures were made by the study authors.

http://www.dailyrx.com/news-article/gli ... 19144.html


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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 8:24 am 
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TTFields therapy vs. chemotherapy in patients with recurrent glioblastoma

Results of the first randomized controlled trial to compare a novel cancer treatment modality delivering Tumor Treating Fields (TTFields) therapy versus chemotherapy in patients with recurrent glioblastoma (GBM) were published in the European Journal of Cancer (Stupp R. et al., NovoTTF-100A versus physician's choice chemotherapy in recurrent glioblastoma: A randomized phase III trial of a novel treatment modality, Eur J Cancer(2012), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2012.04.011). The study showed that NovoTTF™ therapy was comparable to active chemotherapy in extending overall survival, with minimal side effects and far better quality of life.

Novocure™, a commercial stage private oncology company, manufactures the device, NovoTTF™-100A, a wearable device that delivers TTFields, or alternating electrical fields, specifically tuned to disrupt the uncontrolled division of cancer cells, resulting in cell death.

This is the first publication in a peer reviewed journal of the Phase 3 trial of chemotherapy-free treatment with NovoTTF monotherapy (20-24h/day) versus active chemotherapy in the treatment of patients with recurrent GBM. The primary endpoint of the trial was overall survival. The secondary endpoints were progression-free survival at six months, 1-year survival rate, and quality of life.

Patients enrolled in the Phase 3 trial had a median age of 54 years (range 23-80) with a Karnofsky performance status of 80% (range 50-100). Patients were randomized to NovoTTF alone.

The most common NovoTTF-related adverse events were principally mild (14%) to moderate (2%) skin rash beneath the device's transducer arrays. Severe adverse events occurred in 6% of patients treated with NovoTTF vs 16% for those treated with chemotherapy.

http://www.news-medical.net/news/201205 ... stoma.aspx


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 2:15 pm 
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HSC Transplants Give Glioblastoma Patients Longer Life, Tolerance to Alkylating Agent Chemotherapy

Scientists report positive data from a first-in-man study evaluating the bone marrow-protective effects of genetically modified autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplants in glioblastoma patients treated using chemotherapy and benzylguanine. The results, published in Science Translational Medicine, showed that of the three patients given the transplants prior to combination therapy, two survived much longer than average, and the third remains alive with no disease progression almost three years later.

The study, led by researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center’s Clinical Research Division, demonstrates that the engineered stem cells have a chemoprotective effect, maximizing the drug dose that can be administered. The results are described in a paper titled “Extended Survival of Glioblastoma Patients After Chemoprotective HSC Gene Therapy.”

A major barrier to the successful use of cancer chemotherapy is organ toxicity, and primarily bone marrow toxicity (hematopoietic toxicity), which causes blood cell counts to drop and increases susceptibility to infection. Bone marrow toxicity resulting form alkylating agents has been linked with low or absent expression of the methylguanine methyltransferase (MGMT) gene, the researchers explain. However, some tumors, including aggressive brain tumors, paradoxically over-express MGMT, which results in the tumor cells being chemotherapy-resistant but the bone marrow cells being particularly sensitive to alkylating agents. Prognosis is thus particularly poor in patients with glioblastomas that express an unmethylated promoter for the MGMT gene because the increased increased MGMT activity in tumor cells reduces the cytotoxicity of alkylating chemotherapies such as temozolomide (TMZ) by repairing the drug-induced DNA damage.

It’s feasible that overcoming MGMT-related tumor-cell resistance to chemotherapy can be achieved by administering an MGMT inhibitor, O6-benzylguanine (O6BG), in combination with alkylating agent chemotherapy. However, Phase I and II studies have shown that this approach leads to significant hematopoietic toxicity, the researchers continue. In order to try and overcome this, the Fred Hutchinson team carried out a small clinical trial to test a gene therapy approach in which patients received transplants of their own hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) that had been engineered to carry a mutant MGMT gene (P140K).

The mutant gene engineered into the HSCs displays the same activity as wild-type MGMT, but also confers both the stem cells and their progeny with resistance to O6BG. Prior in vitro and in vivo preclinical work has demonstrated that O6BG-resistant MGMT P140K gene expression can protect the hematopoietic system from toxicity associated with combined O6BG and alkylator chemotherapy.

The reported clinical study involved giving three glioblastoma patients autologous transplants of P140K-modified hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells after nonmyeloablative conditioning with the FDA-approved chemotherapeutic agent BCNU. This step was carried out because data from previous studies indicate that BCNU could facilitate engraftment of transplanted gene-modified cells while maintaining stable disease during transplant recovery.

After BCNU treatment and successful engraftment of modified stem cells, the patients were treated using between three and nine cycles of chemotherapy comprising O6BG and TMZ. Procedural details are reported in the published paper, but the authors stress that all patients demonstrated recovery from BCNU, engraftment of P140K gene-modified cells, and maintenance of stable disease during the transplant period. This, they say, supports “the clinical feasibility of this approach”. Moreover, the dose of BCNU administered prior to HSC transplantation was much lower than doses of the drug used for chemotherapy for glioblastoma, and resulted in only mild myelosuppression with no apparent toxicity.

PCR analyses confirmed that all three stem cell recipients exhibited gene-modified cells among peripheral blood granulocytes and lymphocytes up to 14 months after transplantation. Hematopoietic recovery was observed in each patient after each chemotherapy cycle, and the P140K gene-modified cells were found in multiple hematopoietic lineages after several rounds of combination treatment with O6BG and TMZ.

Importantly, chemotherapy was well tolerated, and all patients demonstrated acceptable hematopoietic toxicity and no significant extramedullary toxicity. “All three patients treated surpassed the median survival for glioblastoma patients with unmethylated MGMT promoter status in tumor cells (12 months), with two of three patients displaying stable disease at 12 months from diagnosis and one patient displaying no evidence for disease progression,” the authors state.

“These data support continued development of P140K-modified hematopoietic progenitor and stem cells as a chemoprotective strategy in cancers, including glioblastoma, where benefit from combined O6BG/DNA alkylating agent chemotherapy has been hindered by hematopoietic toxicity. Lack of extramedullary toxicity in the study patients suggests that this approach will allow for administration of multiple cycles of this chemotherapy, possibly at higher, more effective, doses, potentially leading to better treatment outcomes.”

http://www.genengnews.com/gen-news-high ... /81246755/


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 2:19 pm 
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Chia seeds grow in repute with Americans for omega-3 fatty acids and fiber

From kitschy gift to kitchen darling, chia is having another 15 minutes of fame. And this time, it's not slathered on clay "pets."

Chia seeds have become popular for their omega-3 fatty acids and fiber content. With their neutral taste, they can be consumed in many ways - now they're even showing up in processed foods such as chips and spreads.

Eaten by the Maya and Aztec people, chia seeds have long been reputed to be nutritional powerhouses.

"They were basics when we grew up," says Ramiro Arvizu, a chef at La Casita Mexicana in Bell, Calif. "Now it's becoming a fashion, and I love it."

His restaurant has served lemonade with chia seeds for more than a decade, says Arvizu, whose grandmother made him a similar drink in his childhood. The seeds become gelatinous when soaked in liquid, sort of like tapioca.

At Juan's Restaurante in Baldwin Park, Calif., owner-chef Juan Mondragon focuses on the foods of ancient Mexico. In one popular dish, he coats salmon with chia seeds before grilling.

In 2009, a book by Christopher McDougall called "Born to Run" focused on the reclusive Tarahumara Indians of Mexico - long-distance runners who consume chia in food and drinks. And the seeds remain popular among runners. Last week, Business Week magazine reported that "among Wall Street's trading desks and bullpens, chia seeds are becoming the stimulant of choice." They are, the magazine said, "healthier than coffee, cheaper (and obviously more legal) than cocaine, and less juvenile than a 5-hour Energy drink."

"More and more, people in this iPad, junk food way of living ... (are) looking for some way to live healthier and create some balance and relying on foods" that cultures ate thousands of years ago, says John Roulac, founder of Nutiva, a company based in Oxnard, Calif., that sells chia products.

Demand has grown fivefold this year, he says. "Dr. Oz's megaphone" didn't hurt, adds Roulac, who recently returned from a trip to South America to meet with farmers and government officials about chia crops.

Whole Foods has been selling chia seeds for five years as a niche product, but recently sales have boomed, says Jeremiah McElwee, the company's global whole body buyer. At home he mixes chia seeds into his children's oatmeal.

A tablespoon of the seeds has 60 calories, 5 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein and 3 grams of fat. Online, they're about $10 a pound.

David Nieman of Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., who has conducted several studies of chia seeds, in part funded by Dole Food Co., says chia seeds are not the magic that will keep people Olympian strong and model slender while they live like couch potatoes. Exercise and a good diet still are key. Nevertheless, he says, "chia is a lot of nutrition in a little package."

CHIA SEEDS: HOW TO EAT AND DRINK THEM

Add water, or ...

Chia seeds can be sprinkled on oatmeal, made into pudding, added to juice or baked into bread.

The quickest recipe is to just add a tablespoon of chia seeds to 8 to 10 ounces of water or juice. You can drink it right away, but letting it sit for about 10 minutes will let the seeds start to gel.

Pudding is nearly as easy: Stir 1/3 cup of chia seeds into a cup of almond milk, add sweetener and flavor - vanilla, for example - to taste. Refrigerate overnight. If desired, add raisins or nuts before serving.

If that's not to your liking, a book published this month, "Chia: The Complete Guide to the Ultimate Superfood" by Wayne Coates, includes 75 recipes. Among them are smoothies, muffins, salads and casseroles such as shepherd's pie or polenta with white beans.

http://www.sacbee.com/2012/06/01/453082 ... -with.html


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 7:39 am 
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Discovery may improve brain tumor treatment

If a brain cancer patient is afflicted with the most aggressive form of a tumor, he may die within 15 months.

For reasons previously unknown, the glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) tumor could also progress much faster in some patients, causing death in less than a year.

A group of scientists here have uncovered why some GBM tumors are more aggressive, which could help doctors tailor specific treatments and make more accurate prognoses.

Every year, up to 100 adults are diagnosed with brain cancers caused by the GBM tumor. They make up about 40 per cent of the total number of new brain cancer patients seen here.

The joint study found that patients with high levels of parkin - a type of protein - in their cancer cells tend to survive longer than those who were parkin-deficient.

There are several implications from this finding by scientists at the National Neuroscience Institute (NNI), National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences (Sics).

Currently, doctors examine brain tumors by doing a biopsy. The histology, or make-up, of the tumors in any two patients may be the same, but each individual responds differently to treatment.

Now, by looking at the molecular structures of tumors, doctors can check for parkin levels to determine treatments best suited to each patient.

'Doctors would be able to have the knowledge to arrive at the proper diagnosis and plan for patient-specific therapy, doing away with the sledgehammer approach to treatment,' said Associate Professor Lim Kah Leong of NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine's department of physiology.

NNI research scientist Carol Tang said the findings would also be of help in the development of drugs, which the team is looking into.

For example, patients could take medicine containing parkin to curb tumor growth.

Associate Professor Ang Beng Ti, a consultant at NNI's department of neurosurgery and a senior principal investigator at Sics, will conduct further trials to see how the molecular examination of brain tumors can be made part of patients' routine investigations in future.

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012 ... tment.html


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2012 6:50 am 
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Probability of Long-Term Glioblastoma Survival Assessed

Although the overall mortality rate of glioblastoma is high, compared with patients newly diagnosed with glioblastoma, those who survive two years or more after diagnosis have a favorable conditional probability of future survival, according to a study published online May 8 in Cancer.

FRIDAY, May 25 (HealthDay News) -- Although the overall mortality rate of glioblastoma is high, compared with patients newly diagnosed with glioblastoma, those who survive two years or more after diagnosis have a favorable conditional probability of future survival, according to a study published online May 8 in Cancer.

To investigate the conditional probability of survival, Derek R. Johnson, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues conducted a population-based analysis using Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results data from 10,022 patients diagnosed with glioblastoma between 1998 and 2008 who had been treated with radiation-containing regimens.

The researchers found that median survival for the cohort was 12.61 months. At diagnosis, the conditional probability of surviving an additional two years was 19.8 percent and this increased to 65.9 percent at five years after diagnosis. Compared with patients diagnosed in 1998 to 2004, an increased proportion of patients diagnosed in 2005 to 2008 survived 12 months from diagnosis and from six, 12, and 18 months after diagnosis. Age was the only factor associated with a higher risk of death at diagnosis and at one and three years following diagnosis.

"Patients surviving past two years from diagnosis have a relatively favorable conditional probability of survival into the future compared to newly diagnosed patients," the authors write. "This effect becomes more pronounced with increasing time since diagnosis. These data will assist in the counseling of glioblastoma survivors."

http://www.doctorslounge.com/index.php/news/pb/29346


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2012 3:37 pm 
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Measuring Life in Years, Not Months

Brain cancer is never a good diagnosis. People who learn they have glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) usually live a bit longer than a year after diagnosis.

One subtype of the disease offers patients a better, longer outlook.

Using a new method to classify GBM tumors, researchers have discovered that patients with the CNP subtype of glioblastoma can live for years after diagnosis.

This discovery could lead to new target drugs.

Learn what subtype of cancer you have.

John Kuo, MD, PhD, assistant professor of neurological surgery and human oncology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, led the study.

The research describes a new method of sub-typing GBM tumors according to the proteins they have (express).

Having the CNP protein may mean the cancer is less aggressive, so that patient's lifespan is measured in years, not months.

To learn this, the research team grew the tumor lines from five human patients in the lab. The scientists then identified the biomarkers for each of the lines.

This tissue was then transplanted into the brains of mice that had weak immune systems.

In addition to this animal study, the researchers also looked for the CNP subtype in 115 human patients and observed how long they lived.

Some of the patients with the CNP protein lived for years -- as long as 10 years after diagnosis.

Dr. Kuo said that "when we looked at samples of human tumors, remarkably, we also found that the less invasive tumors expressed the CNP protein."

He goes on to say that this method of sub-typing could be simpler than existing methods and provide GBM patients with a more accurate prognosis.

Most hospitals can already test for the presence of proteins, according to Dr. Kuo.

The paper was published early online May 15 in the journal Clinical Cancer Research.

The research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute, the Wisconsin Partnership Program, the Center for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the HEADRUSH Brain Tumor Research Professorship and the Roger Loff Memorial Fund for GBM Research.

http://www.dailyrx.com/news-article/gli ... 19682.html


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2012 5:47 am 
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My brain tumour diagnosis has opened my eyes to cancer care

Until 2009 I worked as a GP in Wickersley, Rotherham for over 18 years, until the day I was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

I was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme (Grade 4 Astrocytoma) of the corpus callosum. This ruled out surgery (open or stereotactic). I have had all the treatment available in this country, and still the tumour remains.

I was 48 at that time. On the day of the diagnosis I gave up work and so did my wife, Sue, so that we could spend more time with each other and with our three children.

Whilst I was having treatment, Sue trawled the Internet for information. She came across Brain Tumour Research (BTR), a registered charity, which was raising awareness and funds for research into cures. They sent us leaflets with four facts which most of the public - and, shockingly, most GPs - are not aware of.

They are:

1. More children die from brain tumour than leukaemia or any other cancer.

2. More women under 35 die from brain tumour than breast or any other cancer.

3. More men under 45 die from brain tumour than prostate cancer or any other cancer.

4. More women die from brain tumour than cervical cancer.

Survival rates are much worse compared to other cancer survival rates, but even with all the best will in the world, BTR are not going to be able raise the £7 million required annually to keep its research centres running. There are no celebrities, famous patrons, or national media coverage, and charities do not share resources with one another. Everyone has heard of 'pink ribbon day' but not 'wear a hat day', and the many deaths from brain tumours go largely unreported.

As a GP and a patient, I had insight into how the NHS works. I became determined to use my knowledge of the system to raise awareness of brain tumours and to ensure all my colleagues knew the symptoms.

But I fear to date I have largely hit a brick wall. I was told by BTR soon after my diagnosis that there was an All Party Parliamentary Group on Brain Tumours set up. The aim of this APPG was to raise public awareness of brain tumours. And yet, no one I ask has heard about the problem. In other words, the APPG has not made any impact on the general public.

All GPs in the UK still receive a printed Chief Medical Officer (CMO) bulletin. I e-mailed the CMO, who in turn said she was going to pray for me but wasn't willing to do anything to raise awareness of brain tumours or their common symptoms with GPs. I also e-mailed the Secretary of State for Health Mr Lansley but he is too busy trying to re-shape the NHS, again no-one listened.

At the last APPG meeting in January, which the Secretary of State attended, there was a lot of GP bashing. I tried to defend my profession, saying that GPs need access to the information and access to MRI (with set criteria).

One encouraging initiative was explained at the meeting though, and all GPs need to be aware of this. We were all given ‘Headsmart' cards by David Walker, professor of paediatric oncology at the University of Nottingham.This lists the signs and symptoms of brain tumours in patients aged under 5-years-old, 6-11and 12-18. (Remember brain tumours kill more under 14s than any other cancer).

These are similar to the meningitis cards, meant for use by the general public and health professionals. It was also felt that these cards should also be circulated amongst school children. Like meningitis, early diagnosis of brain tumours in young people can improve a patient's prognosis.

I e-mailed the CMO again about Headsmart but she simply replied that the information I mentioned about brain tumours is already on the NHS Choices website. But I have checked the website and it does not offer the same advice as Headsmart. Furthermore, the website is not a resource for GPs use as a symptom checker.

Meanwhile, I have also been giving out Headsmart cards to some of the local schools and others are also doing the same in their areas. Unfortunately the patchy nature of this campaign will lead to a postcode lottery on early diagnosis, and thus rates of mortality. I sent an e-mail to Mr Gove at the Department for Education, so that all schools may be informed about the campaign, but again the response has been disappointing. The Department advised me to contact each headteacher myself individually.

Politicians at present are not paying attention and those who should advise them do not appreciate the nature of the issue – fortunately, few have experienced anyone close to them suffering from a brain tumour.

I have three children and my eldest son, Matt, and his friend- both keen sailors - raised £11,000 for the charity. But brain tumours are not a popular cause, and fundraisers like Matt's are a once-off. I strongly feel that funding research into cures needs to be government-funded. Given that £7 million a year is a very tiny percentage of UK GDP, and just 0.7% of the total amount spent on cancer research nationally, it makes financial sense.

http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/main-conten ... ancer-care


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 6:47 am 
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$10 million in grants to TGen will target brain cancer

A local brain-cancer foundation's $10 million in grants to TGen started with a question: Why do 2 percent of people with an aggressive type of brain cancer defy the odds and live much longer than others?

Researchers at Translational Genomics Research Institute, or TGen, will use funding from Scottsdale-based Ben & Catherine Ivy Foundation to complete a five-year study that aims to uncover genetic clues to glioblastoma multiforme. The aggressive brain cancer has a median survival rate of about 18 months, though about 2 percent of disease-sufferers live longer.

"Everyone asks how we can cure this disease by focusing on the 98 percent" of people who die within 18 months of diagnosis, said Catherine (Bracken) Ivy, founder and president of the Ivy Foundation. "Nobody has researched why the 2 percent live longer. Genomically, what is the difference?"

The Ivy Foundation will also underwrite a personalized medicine study by TGen that will match brain-cancer patients with drugs based on their genetic makeup.

A pilot study will start with 15 people diagnosed with brain cancer and use whole genome sequencing, which compares the genetic sequence of tumor cells with healthy cells to uncover genetic triggers for the disease. Based on that genetic information, people will likely receive investigational drugs in hopes of halting the disease.

After researchers gather information from the first 15 patients, they will conduct a feasibility study of 30 patients followed by a clinical trial with 70 patients, according to TGen. The study will involve a clinical-trials consortium of more than a half-dozen universities and groups funded by the Ivy Foundation.

Jeffrey Trent, TGen's president and research director, said that a study with 100 or more people would make it one of the largest personalized-medicine trials.

Trent said that foundations focused on specific diseases will be an increasingly important source of funding for clinical trials that use personalized medicine. Research involving whole genome sequencing, in particular, can be painstaking and expensive, although technology has driven costs lower.

"Groups that fund research that augment (National Institutes of Health) are a huge part of the landscape," Trent said.

The Ivy Foundation moved from the San Francisco Bay area to Scottsdale earlier this year and has funded more than $50 million in brain-cancer research in the U.S. and Canada. Its goal is to double life expectancy of glioblastoma patients from 18 to 36 months over the next seven years.

Ivy, a Phoenix native, launched the foundation in 2005 to honor her late husband, Ben Ivy, who died four months after being diagnosed with glioblastoma. She wants to expand access to clinical trails for Arizona residents with brain cancer.

"When you are sick, you want to be home," Ivy said. "One of my primary objectives is to provide access to top clinical trials in Arizona.

"I want more available for the people of Arizona."

http://www.azcentral.com/business/artic ... ancer.html


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:34 am 
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Two Neurosurgeons Banned from Human Research After Inserting Bacteria Into Head Wounds of Brain Tumor Patients

The surgeons were focused on the treatment of malignant glioma, the most dangerous and common form of brain tumor. The average patient with such a condition lives for only 15 months after diagnosis. However, after meeting two glioblastoma patients who lived for 15 and 20 years after the diagnosis of their condition, Muizelaar became fascinated with the idea of developing a treatment for the deadly illness.

The surgeons were focused on the treatment of malignant glioma, the most dangerous and common form of brain tumor

In 2008, the doctors developed an idea of treating the cancerous tumors with probiotics applied to an open head wound, and then withholding antibiotics in order to let the bacteria do their job. (Most people know of probiotics, which live in the digestive tract, because of its commonly invoked beneficial effects for the stomach.) Because the two doctors insisted that it was an innovative treatment rather than research, they were convinced that they did not need approval from an institutional review board (IRB).

Their proposal reached the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which cautioned that they needed to conduct research on animals first. The two doctors reportedly did, though I was unable to find an article on the trials published by a peer-reviewed journal.

Starting in 2010, the doctors performed the procedure on three patients with malignant brain tumors, inserting the bacteria into their open head wounds. The procedure was not a success. By this article's publication, all patients have died. Two died soon afterwards from sepsis; the patient that lived the longest did have a reduction in the size of their brain tumor, but suffered a wound infection. Ten months after the procedure, that patient was forced to take antibiotics and has since died.

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After the death of the second patient in 2011, the IRB director discovered that the doctors sought approval to perform the procedure on five new patients. The university ordered the physicians to stop, and performed a six-month internal investigation, which found that the doctors were culpable in misleading and misunderstanding the university's directives.

Despite the university sanctions, the doctors insist on their innocence. They say that all three of the patients expressed their consent for the procedure. At least one contacted Muizelaar to take part in it. Muizelaar also says that he believes in the procedure, proclaiming that if he had glioblastoma, he would want the treatment performed on him.

But that should not be enough, according to Arthur Caplan, the director of medical ethics at NYU's Langone Medical Center. Caplan says that patients who are dying are often desperate for any sign of hope, and as such, can be easily preyed upon.

Muizelaar remains the university's "Julian R. Youmans" chairman of the school's neurological surgery department.

His page on the University of California-Davis's site can be found here, though it has been intermittently down during publication.

http://www.medicaldaily.com/news/201207 ... pbxeuGm.99


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2012 6:12 am 
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Fusion of FGFR and TACC gene leads to glioblastoma

Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) have discovered that some cases of glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive form of primary brain cancer, are caused by the fusion of two adjacent genes. The study also found that drugs that target the protein produced by this genetic aberration can dramatically slow the growth of glioblastomas in mice. The findings were published today in the online edition of the journal Science.

"Our findings are doubly important," said study leader Antonio Iavarone, MD, professor of pathology and neurology at CUMC, and a member of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC) at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. "From a clinical perspective, we have identified a druggable target for a brain cancer with a particularly dismal outcome. From a basic research perspective, we have found the first example of a tumor-initiating mutation that directly affects how cells divide, causing chromosomal instability. This discovery has implications for the understanding of glioblastoma as well as others types of solid tumors."

The fusion of these two genes was observed in just three percent of tumors studied, so any therapy based on this particular genetic aberration would apply to only a small subset of glioblastoma patients. "It's unlikely that we will find a gene fusion responsible for most glioblastomas. But we may be able to discover a number of other gene fusions, each accounting for a small percentage of tumors, and each with its own specific therapy," said co-senior author Anna Lasorella, MD, associate professor of pathology and pediatrics at CUMC and a member of the Columbia Stem Cell Initiative and the HICCC.

"This is a very exciting advance in our understanding of cancer, and perhaps a first step toward a personalized, precision approach to the treatment of glioblastoma," said Stephen G. Emerson, MD, PhD, director of the HICCC and the Clyde '56 and Helen Wu Professorship in Immunology at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Glioblastomas are tumors that arise from astrocytes, star-shaped cells that make up the brain's supportive tissue. Since astrocytes reproduce quickly and are supported by a large network of blood vessels, glioblastomas are usually highly malignant. It is estimated that these tumors affect about 10,000 people in the United States each year. Glioblastoma is typically treated with surgery, followed by radiation and chemotherapy. However, the disease is invariably fatal, with a median survival of about 14 months after diagnosis, even with aggressive therapy. Glioblastomas took the lives of Senator Edward Kennedy in 2009 and New York Mets all-star catcher Gary Carter in 2012.

Several common single-gene alterations have been observed in glioblastoma. "However, therapies targeting these alterations have not improved clinical outcomes, most likely because they have systematically failed to eradicate the proteins to which the tumor is 'addicted,'" said Dr. Iavarone.

Dr. Iavarone and his colleagues suspected that glioblastomas might be addicted to proteins produced by gene fusions. Such fusions have been implicated in other cancers, notably chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). Novartis AG's (NYSE: NVS) drug Gleevec (imatinib), which targets a fusion protein responsible for CML, has proved to be highly effective in arresting the disease.

In the current study, the CUMC researchers conducted genetic analyses of glioblastomas from nine patients, looking specifically for gene fusions. The most common fusion they observed involved the genes FGFR (fibroblast growth factor receptor) and TACC (transforming acidic coiled-coil).

http://www.news-medical.net/news/201207 ... stoma.aspx


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 6:02 am 
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Research Finds New Brain Cancer Treatment

Researchers have discovered a new target for the treatment of aggressive forms of cancer, glioblatoma multiforme. Glioblastoma multiforme is one of the most severe forms of cancer which arise from glial cells of the brain tissues. Although associated with a poor prognosis, glioblastoma multiforme is rare, it represents on average only 20% of intracranial tumors.

The most common glioblastomas develop in the cerebral hemispheres, but in children can occur in brainstem. There are glioblastomas that arise from malignant transformation of an astrocytoma, but there are also glioblastomas which occur sporadically. There are several genomic abnormalities described that cause glioblastomas: p53 gene mutation ( suppressor tumor gene), overexpression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), gene amplification of platelet-derived growth factor-alpha (PDGF-alpha) gene, etc.

Glioblastoma multiforme is manifested by symptoms of intracranial hypertension such as headaches, vomiting and nausea. Also, these symptoms may be accompanied by paresis or other neurological impairment. Of course, the symptoms also depend on location of the tumor. The most common glioblastoma multiforme has a fronto-temporal location. Therefore, symptoms such as impaired memory, personality and neurological deficit can occur. Treatment for glioblastoma multiforme consists of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery. Unfortunately, treatment is often symptomatic, not curative because many tumors become resistance to treatment. In addition, many drugs used in chemotherapy can not pass a blood-brain barrier to destroy the tumor. It is worth to note that symptomatic treatment refers to reducing headaches or seizures. Therefore, corticosteroids or anticonvulsants are given to patients suffering from glioblastoma.

According to the National Cancer Institute, the average survival rate of patients with glioblastoma multiforme is approximately 15 months. Because it is an incurable disease and also a rapidly growing one, finding new targets for treating this disease is extremely valuable. Dr. Luis Parada, chairman of developmental biology and director of the Kent Waldrep Center for Basic Research on Nerve Growth and Regeneration, said that the disease is difficult to treat because the treatment is aimed especially at cancer cells that replicate quickly. Instead temozolomide, the drug used to stop tumor growth, does not act on cells that replicate slowly and those are the ones responsible for relapses.

Temozolomide is an alkylating agent that passes the blood brain barrier and proved useful in combination with radiotherapy. After experiments conducted on laboratory animals, researchers found that tumor cells behave like stem cells. Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that can divide and specialize in different type of cells in the body. Discussion on the existence of stem cells in solid tumors has generated a great controversy among researchers.

http://www.doctortipster.com/10208-rese ... tment.html


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Roche says Avastin slows brain cancer tumor growth

Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG said a new study of cancer drug Avastin showed it significantly extended progression-free survival of people with an aggressive form of brain cancer.

The Phase III AVAglio study met one of its main targets of improving progression-free survival in people with glioblastoma, Roche, the world's largest maker of cancer drugs, said in a statement on Friday.

"This study showed that people with glioblastoma, a particularly devastating and aggressive cancer without many treatment options, lived significantly longer without their disease worsening when Avastin was added to radiation and temozolomide chemotherapy," Roche said.

Data for final overall survival, the study's other main endpoint, is expected in 2013, the Basel-based company said.

Roche also said that no new safety findings were observed in the study and that adverse events were consistent with those seen in previous trials of Avastin across tumor types for approved indications.

Avastin, hit last year when the United States revoked its conditional approval as a treatment for breast cancer, has been overtaken by Roche's other cancer drugs Rituxan and Herceptin, which saw sales growth accelerate to 9 percent and 11 percent respectively in the first half.

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/08/1 ... z23AtyrZGo


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