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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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01/29/20 Demonstrating Substantial Evidence of Effectiveness for Human Drug and Biological Products Guidance for Industry        

 This is a guidance document from the FDA which talks about what proof is now needed to get a new drug approved.  It looks very favorable to the brain tumor community - there is a lot more flexibility than there used to be!  Good work by the FDA.

01/29/20 DelMar Pharmaceuticals Announces Peer-Reviewed Publication of Interim Results of Phase 2 Clinical Trial of VAL-083 As First-Line Treatment in Newly-Diagnosed MGMT-Unmethylated Glioblastoma Multiforme        

 Val-083 is an experimental chemotherapy that is similar to Temodar but works on a different part of the DNA of the tumor, which the MGMT repair system can not repair.  Theoretically, it should work in unmethylated MGMT patients as well as Temodar does with Methylated MGMT.  This study hints that it is true.  The study is really too small to tell, but does show an effect.

01/27/20 GT Medical Technologies Announces FDA Clearance of Expanded Indication for GammaTile Therapy        

[Correction added 1/30/2020] THe 10 month figure is for all brain tumors. GBM added 4 months which is still very good!]


 GammaTile is now available for newly diagnosed patients. They reported that it adds 10 months to the average time to progression, which is a major increase with little downside. These are wafers implanted at the time of surgery that deliver radiation to the tumor bed.  We have an interview with one of the doctors who created it at

01/27/20 National Brain Tumor Society Provides Funding for the Development Novel Therapy with Potential to Treat Adult and Pediatric Brain Cancers        

 From our friends at the NBTS.  There was a fascinating presentation at SNO that showed GBM patients with low EGFR levels might do better than those with High EGFR levels with the experimental drug Onc-201.  I am happy to see they are going to test that in a trial. I wish them luck.  Hopefully they will find out if it is EGFR that makes the difference or it is just that the low EGFR status is linked to a high DRD2 level - which is the target of Onc201.  If the EGFR makes a difference, this opens the door to combination treatments targeting EGFR along with Onc-201 to hopefully help all patients.

01/26/20 Combination of ALA-induced fluorescence-guided resection and intraoperative open photodynamic therapy for recurrent glioblastoma: case series on a promising dual strategy for local tumor control.        

 This is an interesting idea.  Gleolan (5-ALA) is a dye given to a patient (orally) before a surgery. During the surgery, the surgeon shines a special light on the brain and ny tumor lights up with the dye.  This report then adds in the next step - photodynamic therapy.  Once the maximal amount of tumor is removed, they then hit the tumor bed with a laser which hurts the tumor cells which picked up the dye to mop up the remaining bad cells.    This could be simply added to most surgeries and used in addition to whatever else was going to be done.  

01/25/20 University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center treats its first glioblastoma patient with genetically modified poliovirus        

 This is one of my favorite trials for recurrent Glioblastoma.   Do not let the name polio virus scare you - this is a geneticaly modified version of the virus which does not cause polio. It has been used in people for about 8 years at other centers, this is just the first time at this center.

01/21/20 Multimodal Surgical Treatment of High-Grade Gliomas in the Motor Area: The Impact of the Combination of Navigated Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation and Fluorescein-Guided Resection.        

 This study shows a way to increase the chances of a gross total resection and at the same time getting less neurologic damage, by combining methods that were previously used by themselves! Great work!

01/21/20 Discovering the anti-cancer potential of non-oncology drugs by systematic viability profiling        

 This is a new public resource for cancer researchers.. These people tested 4,518 approved drugs to see which had anti cancer properties.  Their data is available free on their website.

01/21/20 Novocure Announces National Reimbursement in Israel for Optune® in Combination with Temozolomide for the Treatment of Newly Diagnosed Glioblastoma        

 Good news for brain tumor patients in Israel - Optune is now covered by your national health insurance!

01/21/20 Genome-wide CRISPR–Cas9 screening reveals ubiquitous T cell cancer targeting via the monomorphic MHC class I-related protein MR1        

 This is very early work and we need to see how it works in people but it has the potential to be a single treatment that can treat all types of cancer without hurting the normal cells at all. This is not directly about brain tumors  - I added it to the news blast because it might turn out to be a major breakthrough in the treatment of all cancer!  I will keep an eye on it and let you know how it works out!

01/15/20 Musella Foundation Brain Tumor Copay program is now open!        

 The program might not be open too long so if you think you can use it - apply now!

01/15/20 Scientists breach brain barriers to attack tumors        

I love this kind of research - shows they are thinking through the problem and looking for new avenues of attack. This is way too early to say if it will help people, as they only tried it in mice.  Will keep an eye on it as they move into humans!

01/13/20 Medicenna Vaults on Brain Cancer Study        

 They do not give many details except to say they doubled the survival compared to matched control group. That is a major advance!

01/10/20 Optimal adjuvant therapy in elderly glioblastoma: results from a systematic review and network meta-analysis        

 In this study, they found that shortening the radiation duration from the usual 6 weeks to 3 weeks and using Temodar during and after radiation was the best option for elderly patients with a Glioblastoma.  Unfortunately they did not look at adding Optune so from this article we can not tell where Optune would fit in. This is from India and I do not know if Optune is available in India.

01/10/20 Surgery may add months or years of survival for adults with rare and deadly brain cancers        

 This report says it may now be possible to safely surgically remove high grade brainstem gliomas. This could almost double the expected average survival, which buys time for other treatments to work!  

01/09/20 Survival analysis of patients with glioblastoma treated by long-term administration of temozolomide.        

 This is the reason why we like to see prospective trials.  In this retrospective study, they looked at people who used Temodar for 6 months or less versus people who received more than 6 months of Temodar.  The progression free survival was a little better but the overall survival was more than double (47 vs 20 months) in the long term group vs. the short term group. That would be very impressive except they did not give one group 6 months of Temodar and the other group more than 6. They just looked back to see how long patients used it.  It is possible that the patients who used it longer were the ones in good shape and who were responding to it and the ones who stopped at or before 6 months did so because they were having problems, in which case you would expect the group doing well to live longer than the group not doing well.

01/08/20 New book takes a humorous look at brain cancer        

 Very well written book describes what happens from the first symptoms of a brain tumor through the surgery, radiation, chemo and all of the problems that arise. Worth the read.

01/08/20 Identification of a transient state during the acquisition of temozolomide resistance in glioblastoma.        

 I love this type of research.  They looked at how Temozolomide effects tumor cells over time. We already knew most GBM cells will become resistent to Temozolomide eventually, but they identified a stage that the cells go through where they change to slow growing and change shape.  They identified a drug which interferes with the cell. Sounds like it is worth a try in clinical trials.

01/07/20 DIPG Advocacy Group Announces Congressional Briefing for Pediatric Brain Cancer        

You can help. Follow the instructions in the article to ask your representatives to cosponsor and vote for this bill!

01/06/20 Musella Foundation Awards $250,000 Brain Tumor Research Grant        

 This is the 3rd of the 4 payments of $250K that we pledged toward this $1 million project. I still need help raising the final $250K! If anyone is interested in helping, contact me! (Al Musella, DPM


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