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01/15/17 Immunotherapies for GBM: Tumor Vaccines by Linda Liau, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A.
This is a video about the DCVax trial, given by one of my all time favorite brain tumor doctors, Dr. Liau. This looks very promising. We are hoping to hear the results of the big phase 3 trial soon.
In the earlier trials and in the early progressors which were excluded from this trial but were followed as they took the vaccine, about 25% of the patients went on to be long term survivors, with many alive and progression free 5-10 years later. That is unheard of with the standard treatments. Some other immunotherapies have also reported similiar results (although not as long follow up). We are hoping this large phase 3 trial shows something close to that so it can be approved quickly and all patients can benefit from it. Best of all it had no serious side effects.
Dr. Liau is on the Musella Foundation Medical Advisory Board. The Musella Foundation has supported Dr Liau's immunotherapy research with $375,000 in grants and we have never received any financial support from the company developing this treatment, Northwest Biotherapeutics.
01/14/17 National Walk To End Brain Tumors – Volunteers needed
We desperately need to fund more brain tumor research. We have many research proposals on our desk that are just waiting to be funded. Any of them might lead to advances. If you have the energy - please volunteer. (And when the time comes - donate!)
12/31/16 Top Brain Tumor News Stories for 2016
2016 was an exciting year - but I think 2017 will be the year we see big steps forward!
Happy New Year!
BTW: The copay program will open again very soon - maybe Monday or Tuesday. Will announce it as soon as it opens!
12/31/16 Florescent light helps surgeons target brain tumors
This is approved and a standard treatment in Europe. It is not yet approved in the USA so it is only available in clinical trials. Hopefully the new administration will relax some FDA rules and allow potentially life saving treatments to be approved sooner rather than later.
12/31/16 Pathway linked to slower aging also fuels brain cancer
They need to find a way to target only the tumor cells and not have the side effects on the normal cells. There is a lot of research going on to accomplish this with other treatments, such as antibody drug conjugates, convection enhanced delivery, super selective intraarterial intracranial infusion, gene therapies such as used by Tocagen and a few others.
12/25/16 Some glioblastoma patients benefit from 'ineffective' treatment, Stanford researchers say
This is the problem with clinical trials.. if the average patients doesn't benefit, they call it a failure. They do not identify the patients who do benefit. In this case, they identified a group of patients who would benefit from Avastin, even though an average patient doesn't. I have seen many patients with a huge benefit from it, which makes no sense when you look at the trial results. This may explain why. They should go back to the original Avastion trials, and see if this group of patients did better,
12/13/16 Medicenna Announces Initiation of Phase 2 Clinical Trial of MDNA55 for the Treatment of Recurrent Glioblastoma
(Disclosure: Medicenna is a new sponsor of the Musella Foundation). This immunotherapy had some very impressive results in a small early trial. Of course we have to be careful when there are small numbers involved - sometimes that doesn't pan out when the large trials are done, but it is a good sign. In a group of patient with recurrent gbm who did not have a resection at the time of recurrence, just one infusion of this new treatment, they had 20% complete response rate. That means the tumor disappeared after just one infusion. The response rate was 56% and if you include stable disease, the benefit rate (Stable + partial response + complete response) was 68%. They were no serious safety problems.
This treatment is a fusion protein which targets Interleukin-4 which is overexpressed on 3/4 of GBMs, and 100% of brainstem gliomas. It carries along a toxin that can kill the cells which overexpress IL-4. Normal cells have a low level of IL-4. Delivery is via convection enhanced delivery. Prior trials involving CED have failed, mainly because the early versions of CED were not accurate - they couldn't get the drug to the target. The Tocagen trials proved that CED is now at a point where they can routinely get the treatment
12/09/16 NW Bio Provides Update About Phase 3 Trial Of DCVax®-L for Newly Diagnosed Glioblastoma Multiforme Brain Cancer
Very exciting news. Nobody knows why the trial was placed on hold. Usually that is a bad sign but there are many reasons a trial can be placed on hold that have nothing to do with how good a treatment is. See www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm . I doubt it is for safety reasons, as there were no safety issues at all in the first few trials and in similar trials. That is the one we would worry about if it were true. There are many other reasons. One possibility is that the FDA thinks that the trial will not prove anything. There has been arguments back and forth about appropriate endpoints. At one time the FDA allowed progression free survival as an endpoint, but then the Avastin trial showed excellent progression free survival but no increase in overall survival, so the FDA changed its stance and said it wanted overall survival as an endpoint and that progression free survival is not enough. This happened after the trial was designed. The primary endpoint is progression free survival. This trial allows patients in the control group to cross over and get the vaccine when they have a recurrence. This messes up the endpoint of overall survival because you will be comparing people who get the vaccine to people who get the vaccine. The FDA may think it is futile to try with the current design and may want the trial redesigned and done over again, which would probably be too expensive and lead to abandoning of the treatment. I would protest that it is unethical to not allow cross over for the control group. (Let alone that it is unethical to have a control group in the first place).
Anyway - this press release says they have stopped enrollment in the trial and will just analyze the results they have. They already enrolled 331 patients, which should be enough to tell how it looks. IF it shows a progression free survival benefit, we will be fighting to get it approved based on this trial and hopefully not have to go through another phase 3 trial.
12/07/16 Take a survey - get $75!
We have worked with these people before.. make sure to tell them you were refered by the Musella Foundation and they will also make a donation to us!
Displaying Stories 1 to 20 of 6081