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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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03/23/18 FDA issues Class I recall for Minnesota-made brain probe        

 This is a rare occurence - happening about 12 times out of 1,800.  The cause was identified and they are fixing the problem, and letting the doctors know about it so they can watch for it and prevent problems.  I feel it is still a good treatment as this device is used for "inoperable" tumors that will most likely kill the patient without the treatment, so it is still worth the small risk.

03/20/18 NCCN Guidelines Recommend Optune in Combination with Temozolomide as a Category 1 Treatment for Newly Diagnosed Glioblastoma        

 This is great news.  The NCCN basically sets the standard of care for cancer treatments. The NCCN treatments classification is:

NCCN Categories of Evidence and Consensus

  • Category 1: Based upon high-level evidence, there is uniform NCCN consensus that the intervention is appropriate.
  • Category 2A: Based upon lower-level evidence, there is uniform NCCN consensus that the intervention is appropriate.
  • Category 2B: Based upon lower-level evidence, there is NCCN consensus that the intervention is appropriate.
  • Category 3: Based upon any level of evidence, there is major NCCN disagreement that the intervention is appropriate.

Not only does this set the standard of care as including Optune, but it should make it impossible for insurance companies to deny it.

03/16/18 Musella Foundation Copay Assistance Program reopens!        

 It will only be open for a few weeks.  If you are thinking of applying, do it now and send it by fax. Do not mail it as you may miss out on it.

03/15/18 Novocure Announces 35 Presentations on Tumor Treating Fields at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2018        

That is an impressive number of presentations, and means that Optune has finally been accepted by the research community.  

03/13/18 Could £400-per-year drug cocktail be the key to beating one of the most-deadly cancers?        

 Very interesting combination and cheap. I am looking foward to the result.


 This is from our friends at "OurB Brain Bank".  It is an app that records your information to be used in research and helps match you with clinical trials.   We have similar projects going - the brain tumor virtual trial, and our clinical trials matcher, but it is good to get other points of view

03/09/18 New Ammo In The War On Brain Cancer        

 This is a tv news segment about an exciting new clinical trial for recurrent glioblastoma of: EGFR(V)-EDV-Dox.   See for details on the trial. and click HERE for details on this new treatment.

Disclaimer: Dr. Boockvar is a member of our medical advisory board.

03/09/18 Optune Open House        

 This is from the people at Novocure.  It is a facebook event where you can learn about and ask questions about Optune!

03/08/18 Failure in pivotal PhIII brain cancer trial drags Israel’s VBL Therapeutics down        

 This is so sad. I had high hopes for this trial. The earlier phase 2 trial reported very good results.  The details have not been released yet - would love to see how the 2 trials differed and why the phase 3 trial did not show a benefit when the phase 2 showed such a large benefit. 

03/07/18 Novel Combo Explored for Rare Brain Tumor        

 This is a clinical trial for recurrent Anaplastic Astrocytomas.  Looks promising.

Disclosure: Orbus Therapeutics is a sponsor of our organization.


03/03/18 Secretive Mexican brain cancer clinic to be investigated by Australian expert        

 It doesn't sound like they are going to be open to investigations.  They are currently treating 70 patients at a cost of $300,000 per patient.  If the treatment worked, they would have  published and patented it and make a fortune helping patients all over the world.   If they are not sure it works, then they need to keep it secret so they can scam rich foreigners. 

As a reminder, some drugs, like Avastin, can make a tumor disappear from a scan even though it is still there.  So I am not that impressed with the scan results. However, the article does say there is some evidence of living longer, which would impress me. I hope they let the expert investigate.

03/03/18 Help Us Understand Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) Patient Experiences better through a quick survey:        

 One more time...  only a few slots left for patients and caregivers.  You get $75 for responding to the survey, and the Musella Foundation gets a donation!

Let me know if you do it!

02/28/18 Advantages and disadvantages of combined chemotherapy with carmustine wafer and bevacizumab in patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma: A single institutional experience.        

 This is a small study - so it can't be relied on completely. However, it shows that adding both Gliadel and Avastin to the standard Temodar for newly diagnosed GBM added 9 months to average survival and doubled progression free survival. Another tidbit - more than half of patients operated on in this hospital in Japan received Gliadel wafer.  

02/24/18 Tumor microenvironment after biodegradable BCNU wafer implantation: special consideration of immune system.        

 Very interesting.   If this is true,  this may lead to big gains in immunotherapies.  One of the problems was the lack of CD8+ Killer T Cells in the area of the tumor. Apparently, Gliadel wafer may attract these cells to the tumor bed.  So we need to watch combinations of Gliadel with immunotherapies!

Very exciting!

02/23/18 Voyager Pediatric System Granted Humanitarian Use Designation        

This is interesting..  the FDA apparently approved a device without requiring any proof that it helps at all.  My first instinct was to dismiss it as nonsense, but the press release says that Dr. Michael Prados is on the scientific advisory board - he is one of the best neuro-oncologists in the world, so we cannot dismiss this.  I made the same mistake with Optune - I completely dismissed it at first glance, until I saw the research results and met patients who did well with it. This works in a completely different way than Optune. 

02/19/18 Magnetic Resonance Imaging-Guided Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy for Glioblastoma of the Corpus Callosum.        

 This may be another option for patients whose tumors are in the corpus callosum.  

02/16/18 Shared cancer neoantigens: Making private matters public        

 This is for a new treatment for pediatric brain tumors that have a certain mutation. Almost all DIPG patients have it and some high grade glioma patients have it, especially those near the midline of the brain.  Fascinating but highly technical article.  Bottom line is that it led to a clinical trial for kids with this mutation.

02/14/18 Thoughts on "Right To Try"        

 These are my thoughts on the right to try law. The Senate passed it already and the House is considering it. 


02/14/18 Help Us Understand Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) Patient Experiences better through a quick survey:        

 I have sent this before but now they only need a few more patients.  They already had enough caregivers.   If interested, they pay you $75 and give us a donation. (So let me know if you do the survey!)

02/14/18 A cold virus could extend lives of some brain cancer patients, MD Anderson study finds        

 This is impressive.  After a single injection, they had a complete response to a recurrent gbm, and 20% of the patients did much better than expected - although unfortunately they all died.  This is a step forward - it has to be fined tuned:  optimize the delivery and schedule of it and see which drugs can make it work better.

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