What's New in Brain Tumour Research

Brain tumour research is advancing around the world all the time and this page aims to pull together the most recent breakthroughs for patients and families to learn.

 

2014 Research News

October 2014: Vibrating Micro-Bubbles Let Drugs Sneak Across the Blood-Brain Barrier
Ultrasound technology and micro-bubbles together have pried open one of the most resistant barriers in the body. Read more at Smithsonian.com.
October 2014: Calgary research produces promising results for brain cancer patients

Researchers at the University of Calgary may have found a way to prolong the life of people living with an aggressive type of brain cancer. Scientists at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI) and Southern Alberta Cancer Research Institute (SACRI) used human brain tumour-initiating cells from 100 glioblastoma patients to test a drug that could target the disease. Read more at CTV News

August 2014: Edmonton researchers find new target for cancer therapies
Researchers at the University of Alberta may have helped uncover a novel method of treating glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer. Chemistry professor Christopher Cairo and his team synthesized a compound that inhibits the enzyme neuraminidase four (NEU4). Read more in the Edmonton Journal.
July 2014: New Results Show Personalized Brain Tumor Vaccine Helps Patients Live Longer
In this phase two study, 50 percent of glioblastoma patients lived for two years, an encouraging result for one of the most deadly cancers that often kills patients within one year of diagnosis. Read more at Health Canal.
July 2014: Stereotactic radiosurgery for multiple brain metastases
Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) alone has become one of the treatment options for patients with 1–4 metastases as the detrimental effects of whole brain radiation therapy on neurocognition and quality of life are becoming well known. This review aims at summarizing the current evidence of SRS for multiple brain metastases, divided into limited (2–3) and multiple (≥4) lesions. It also reviews the technical aspects and cost–effectiveness of SRS. Read more at Informa Healthcare.
July 2014: Scientists find important piece in the brain tumour puzzle
Scientists at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, McGill University and McGill University Health Centre have shown that a member of the protein family known as SUMO (small ubiquitin-like modifier) is a key to why tumour cells multiply uncontrollably, especially in the case of glioblastoma. Identifying SUMO’s role in the cancer cell growth will lead to a new strategy for glioblastoma treatment. Read more at Health Canal.
July 2014: Living longer with adult high-grade glioma:setting a research agenda for patients and their caregivers
The long-term survival of patients with adult high-grade glioma (HGG) remains poor, but for those who do live longer functional status and neurocognitive ability may be influenced by residual or recurrent tumour, or treatment-related complications. Read more at Springer Link.
July 2014: Symptoms, coping, and quality of life in pediatric brain tumor survivors: a qualitative study
The purpose of this study is to explore the symptom experience, coping strategies, and children's descriptions of their quality of life (QOL) after treatment for a brain tumor. Read more at NCBI.
June 2014: Advances in genetic and epigenetic analyses of gliomas: a neuropathological perspective
Gliomas, the most common malignant primary brain tumors, are universally fatal once they progress from low-grade into high-grade neoplasms. In recent years, we have accumulated unprecedented data about the genetic and epigenetic abnormalities in gliomas; yet, our appreciation of how these deadly tumors arise is still rudimentary. Read more at Springer Link.
June 2014: Neurosurgical virtual reality simulation metrics to assess psychomotor skills during brain tumor resection
This study shows how virtual reality simulator technology together with novel metrics could advance our understanding of expert neurosurgical performance and modify and improve resident training and assessment. Read more at Springer Link.
June 2014: Newly identified brain cancer mutation may can aid drug development
Researchers have identified a genetic mutation in brain cancer tumor cells that plays a role in both the growth and the death of the cell. Additionally, the mutation to the newly identified gene may also contribute to the tumor's resistance to radiation. Read more at Oncology Nurse Advisor.
June 2014: Advancing the search for new cancer drugs
Most recently, drugs that target the Hedgehog pathway entered clinical practice to treat basal cell carcinoma [a form of skin cancer] and medulloblastoma [a brain tumour mainly affecting children]. Targeted therapies have revolutionised the treatment of cancer since they were first introduced. Read more at Medical Xpress. 
June 2014: Longer Telomeres, Considered Sign of Good Health, Linked to Brain Cancer Risk
Research conducted by Mayo Clinic investigators has found that two common gene variants that lead to longer telomeres — the caps on chromosome ends thought by many scientists to confer health by protecting cells from aging — also significantly increase the risk of developing gliomas, a deadly form of brain cancer. Read more at Health Canal.
June 2014: Nuvilex And Medical Marijuana Sciences: Furthering Cancer Research
Cancer is a disease that affects nearly everyone in the developed world in some way or another. 1 in 2 men in the United States are predicted to develop cancer in their lifetimes. Some forms of cancer, such as pancreatic and brain cancers, are especially hard to treat with conventional technologies. Nuvilex, a biotechnology corporation based in Maryland, is looking to change that. Read more at Medical Jane.
June 2014: Synthetic small molecule may help chemo get into brain
In a new study on mice, researchers show it is possible to deliver drugs to fight cancer and other diseases into the brain via the bloodstream using a small molecule to carry them. Reporting in the journal PLOS ONE, the team, from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, says the synthetic peptide carrier can ferry the drugs across the blood-brain barrier without them having to be modified. Read more at Medical News Today.
June 2014: Immunotherapy shows promise in treating brain cancer
Combining standard chemotherapy treatment with immunotherapy may buy some time for patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). The results of the study showed the treatment was safe and effective - most study participants lived much longer than the median survival of less than six months for patients with recurrent GBM. Read more at Life Scientist.
June 2014: Chemotherapy After Radiation Improves Outcomes For Brain Cancer Patients
Gliomas are a type of brain tumor that are often treated with surgery or radiation therapy. But with either therapy, gliomas almost always progress and become more aggressive. Now, new research has shown that radiation therapy followed by a certain kind of chemotherapy improved progression-free survival (PFS) and life-expectancy in adults with low-grade gliomas, when compared to only radiation therapy. Read more at Medical Daily.
June 2014: New Gene Responsible For Rare Brain Cancer Found; Is A Strong Candidate For Drug Development
Researchers have achieved a breakthrough while studying the possible genetic causes of brainstem glioma, a rare and potentially deadly cancer of the brain, which is mostly diagnosed in children and young adults. This discovery may aid in the development of therapeutic options to treat this cancer. Read more at Medical Daily.
May 2014: Brain Cancer Destroyed as Collateral Damage From Immune Response to CMV
Evidence from the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute suggests that training a person’s T-cells to attack infections of cytomegalovirus (CMV) through an immune system response may also eliminate aggressive forms of brain cancer as collateral damage. The results of this successful Phase I clinical trial study were published in the journal Cancer Research. Read more at Liberty Voice.
May 2014: Study Shows Tale of Two Prognoses in Pediatric Brain Tumor, Pilocytic Astrocytoma
Newswise — Pilocytic astrocytoma (PA) is a primarily pediatric brain tumor caused mainly by mutations in the BRAF gene. In fact, there are two specific mechanisms for activation of BRAF implicated in PA formation: by fusion of the gene with nearby gene KIAA1549 (K:B fusion) or by point mutations of the BRAF gene itself. Research presented at the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting 2014 used a newly designed test for K:B fusion to show that point mutations lead to a more dangerous form of the disease than does K:B fusion. Read more at News Wise.
May 2014: New brain cancer treatment targets tumor hypoxia to make radiation therapy work better
Omniox, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company with a new protein-based platform (H-NOX) that has been engineered to make radiation therapy more effective for certain brain tumors. Read more at MedCity.
May 2014: UAB study identifies way brain tumours fuel their growth
In a study published online in The Journal of Clinical Investigation on May 27, Markus Bredel, M.D., Ph.D., professor in the UAB Department of Radiation Oncology and senior scientist in the neuro-oncology program at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, and colleagues demonstrate that a phenomenon known as “alternative splicing” allows brain tumors to incapacitate a key tumor suppressor gene, and that this splicing event happens in a tissue-specific context. Read more at UAB News.
May 2014: EMA advisors reject Avastin for brain cancer
Advisors to the European Medicines Agency have recommended against expanding the label on Roche's blockbuster Avastin to include an aggressive type of brain cancer. Read more at Pharmatimes.
May 2014: Ziopharm shares up after data shows drug may work in brain cancer
Ziopharm Oncology has presented data showing its potential drug that’s in midstage trials to treat breast and skin cancer has shown early-stage promise in the tough-to-treat area of brain cancer. Read more at Biz Journals.
May 2014: This Electric Helmet Looks Goofy But It Zaps Deadly Brain Cancer
Glioblastoma is one of the most aggressive and deadly forms of brain cancer. Nausea-inducing chemotherapy can prolong life by a few months, but there's another gentler though funnier-looking treatment: a cap that literally zaps the tumor away. Read more at Gizmodo.
May 2014: Human fat may be a Trojan horse in the fight against brain cancer
Stem cells derived from human body fat have been successfully used to deliver biologic treatments directly to the brains of mice with the most common and aggressive form of brain tumor, significantly extending their lives. Read more at Oncology Nurse Advisor. 
May 2014: New Research Aims to Impact Pediatric Brain Cancer
Through donations and fundraisers, Nebraskans have helped the Team Jack Foundation commit more than $1 million for pediatric brain cancer research. One project the Team Jack Foundation is especially excited about is a research prototype they hope will be a game changer for kids who are battling pediatric brain cancer. Read more at 1011 Now.
May 2014: Oncolytics Biotech® Inc. Collaborators to Present Positive Brain Cancer Clinical Trial Data at the 50th Annual ASCO Meeting
"Treatment options for patients with brain cancer often include invasive surgery and local administration of therapeutic agents," said Dr. Brad Thompson, President and CEO of Oncolytics. "With this early data suggesting that reovirus can cross the blood brain barrier, it may provide physicians with another, less invasive option in the treatment of both primary brain cancer and metastatic disease associated with other cancer types, which is estimated to occur in about one quarter of all cancer cases where it spreads through the body." Read more at Market Watch.
May 2014: New vaccine, new hope in attacking brain tumors
Vancouver woman participates in first phase of trials for treatment that uses the body's immune system. Read more at The Columbian.
May 2014: Using Herpes To Treat Cancer: Brain Tumors Killed With Herpes-Packed Stem Cells
Research scientists may have figured out how to destroy the most common brain tumor in human adults, which also happens to be the most difficult to treat. Researchers at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) at Massachusetts General Hospital found that by trapping herpes-loaded stem cells in a gel and applying them to tumors, they were able to significantly improve the survival rate of mice with glioblastoma multiforme brain tumors. Read more at Medical Daily. 
May 2014: SapC-DOPS Technology May Help With Imaging Brain Tumors
Brain tumors are an extremely serious example of this and are not only difficult to treat—both adult and pediatric patients have a five-year survival rate of only 30 percent—but also have even been difficult to image, which could provide important information for deciding next steps in the treatment process. Read more at Red Orbit. 
 May 2014: Herpes-loaded stem cells used to kill brain tumors
Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital have a potential solution for how to more effectively kill tumor cells using cancer-killing viruses. The investigators report that trapping virus-loaded stem cells in a gel and applying them to tumors significantly improved survival in mice with glioblastoma multiforme, the most common brain tumor in human adults and also the most difficult to treat. Read more at R&D.
May 2014: JHU Researchers Stumble Upon Treatment That May Help Brain Cancer Patients
A group of Johns Hopkins researchers ended up stumbling upon a common parasite treatment that may help people with brain cancer after first testing the drug on mice as a treatment for pinworm. Read more at InTheCapital. 
May 2014: UTHSC, BCM Researchers Use Big Data To Slow Brain Tumor Growth
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) and Baylor College of Medicine biochemists have discovered a protein that can slow down or speed up the growth of brain tumors. The results come from a preclinical study that utilized Big Data analysis, the results of which could revolutionize the treatment of cancer. Read more at BIO Texas News.
May 2014: IsoRay (ISR) Gains on Approval of Brain Cancer Treatment – Shares in hotly-watched health care small-cap
IsoRay (ISR) were on the rise again today after the company released a statement that it had received final approval from the Washington Department of Health to manufacture its liquid Cesium-131 product for use in treating brain cancers. Read more at Equities.
May 2014: Henry Ford researchers identify genetic factors that may aid survival from brain cancer
A Henry Ford Hospital research team has identified specific genes that may lead to improved survival of glioblastoma, the most common and deadly form of cancerous brain tumor.
The molecular data is expected to aid further research into genes that either help or impede the survival of patients diagnosed with the tumor, which can invade and rapidly grow in any part of the human brain.Read more at Eureka Alert.
April 2014: New insight into fatal childhood brain tumour may lead to patient-targeted treatment
Imagine being a parent receiving news that your six-year-old child has a brain tumour that has no effective treatment, and is almost universally fatal. This is a harsh reality for the 30 children in Canada who are diagnosed each year with a rare paediatric cancer called diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG). The failure of most therapies for this cancer can be attributed to the delicate location of the tumours and the assumption that DIPGs are similar to a type of adult brain cancer, glioblastomas. Read more at Sick Kids.
March 2014: The Role of Brain Tumor Advocacy Groups
This review looks at the literature on patient advocacy groups and provides specific examples of brain tumor advocacy organizations that offer these services. It examines the evolution of the role of these organizations over time, and how that has been reflected in the programs and services provided. This is a collaborative effort to highlight programs and services across multiple patient advocacy organizations. Read more at Springer Link.
February 2014: Invasion and proliferation kinetics in enhancing gliomas predict IDH1 mutation status
Glioblastomas with a specific mutation in the isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1) gene have a better prognosis than gliomas with wild-type IDH1. Here we compare the IDH1 mutational status in 172 contrast-enhancing glioma patients with the invasion profile generated by a patient-specific mathematical model we developed based on MR imaging.

We show that IDH1-mutated contrast-enhancing gliomas were relatively more invasive than wild-type IDH1 for all 172 contrast-enhancing gliomas as well as the subset of 158 histologically confirmed glioblastomas. The appearance of this relatively increased, model-predicted invasive profile appears to be determined more by a lower model-predicted net proliferation rate rather than an increased model-predicted dispersal rate of the glioma cells. Receiver operator curve analysis of the model-predicted MRI based invasion profile revealed an area under the curve of 0.91, indicative of a predictive relationship. The robustness of this relationship was tested by cross-validation analysis of the invasion profile as a predictive metric for IDH1 status. Read more in this pdf of the journal article...

February 2014: Parents’ perspectives of life challenges experienced by long-term paediatric brain tumour survivors: work and finances, daily and social functioning, and legal difficulties
Paediatric brain tumour survivors (PBTS) are at high risk for medical, neurocognitive and psychological sequelea during adulthood. Details illustrating the types and breadth of these chronic sequelae are essential to fully comprehend their impact on daily living. Read more at Springer Link.
February 2014: SickKids scientists uncover mystery behind brain tumour’s chemo resistance
Researchers have discovered why a type of childhood brain cancer doesn’t respond to chemotherapy and have identified an alternative. Read more at thestar.com.
February 2014: Promising brain tumor treatment hijacks "monorail" that lets cancer spread
Tough-to-treat glioblastoma brain tumors may have met their match in a promising new treatment that “hijacks” what makes the deadly cancers spread so easily, turning that mechanism against the cancer itself. Read more at CBSNews.com.
February 2014: Gene mutation defines brain tumors that benefit from aggressive surgery
Patients with malignant astrocytoma whose tumors carry the gene mutation isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1) may benefit greatly from surgical removal of the largest possible amount of tumor, according to a newly published study. Read more at OncologyNurseAdvisor.com.
January 2014: Impact of Millimeter-Level Margins on Peripheral Normal Brain Sparing for Gamma Knife Radiosurgery
To investigate how millimeter-level margins beyond the gross tumor volume (GTV) impact peripheral normal brain tissue sparing for Gamma Knife radiosurgery. Read more at Radiation Oncology.

2013 Research News

December 2013: Researchers from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Find Link Between Gene and Brain Tumor Growth
In a ground-breaking study, Anat Erdreich-Epstein, MD, PhD, and colleagues from The Saban Research Institute of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, are the first to link the level of messenger RNA of the gene PID1 to clinical outcomes of patients with two important types of brain cancer: medulloblastomas and gliomas. Read more in the Vancouver Sun.
December 2013: Progress made on treating rare childhood brain tumour
A rare and deadly brain tumour that affects babies and children under the age of 4 may be closer to being treatable thanks to a team of Canadian researchers led by a hematologist-oncologist at the Montreal Children’s Hospital. Read more in the Montreal Gazette.
December 2013: Examing the social side effects of brain cancer
Researchers at the Alberta Children’s Hospital are working to help children who survive brain cancer with their social skills as they recover and transition back into their peer groups. Experts say children who survive brain cancer often experience impaired social skills as a side effect of chemotherapy and radiation. Check out the CTV story...
December 2013: U of C brain cancer discovery could shrink tumours
Researchers at the University of Calgary's Hotchkiss Brain Institute have made a discovery that could lead to better treatment for patients suffering from brain cancer. Read more at the CBC.
December 2013: Cancer-Promoting Protein Is Vital to Safe Division of Tumor Cells
Researchers have caught a protein they previously implicated in a variety of cancer-promoting roles performing a vital function in cell division, survival and development of brain tumors. Read more at Science Daily.
November 2013: Update: 50 Percent of Patients in New Brain Cancer Study Alive After Five Years
Eight of 16 patients participating in a study of an experimental immune system therapy directed against the most aggressive malignant brain tumors -- glioblastoma multiforme -- survived longer than five years after diagnosis, according to Cedars-Sinai researchers, who presented findings Nov. 23 at the Fourth Quadrennial Meeting of the World Federation of Neuro-Oncology. Read more at Science Daily.
November 2013: New drug proves effective at brain cancer treatment
New drug could have the capability to treat brain tumours by stop them from growing, while not affecting healthy tissue. New research, published in the medical journal 'PLOS ONE', suggests that a drug, which is currently already in the process of clinical development, could be an effective treatment for brain cancer that does not affect healthy cells. Read more at Labmate Online.
October 2013: Study finds 50 genes linked to a type of childhood brain tumour
A QUEENSLAND-led study has identified a network of 50 genes which are driving the growth of a deadly type of childhood brain tumour in a medical breakthrough that paves the way for new treatments. Read more in the Herald Sun news.
October 2013: Study opens doors to novel treatments for aggressive brain cancer
A study of how cancer cells get energy and raw materials for growth from glucose opens doors to new therapies. Ludwig researchers have elucidated a key mechanism by which cancer cells change how they metabolize glucose to generate the energy and raw materials required to sustain runaway growth. Read more on MedicalNews.net.
October 2013: Drug Preserves Cognitive Function After Whole Brain Radiotherapy for Brain Cancer
Whole-brain radiotherapy (WBRT) proves to be a positive therapeutic and survival tool in the treatment of brain tumors in adults, but the effect of WBRT on long-term brain function and performance is a major concern. Because of this, researchers at Emory's Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing and the Winship Cancer Institute conducted a study that highlighted positive outcomes in long-term cognitive function due to the use of the cognitive drug Memantine. Read more...
September 2013: Promising therapeutic target for meningioma brain tumors
A specific protein has been found in nearly 100% of high-grade meningiomas, which is the most common form of brain tumor. This finding suggests a new target for therapies for a cancer that does not respond to current chemotherapy. Read more on OncologyNurseAdvisor.com.
September 2013: Nanodiamonds deliver brain cancer drugs safely, UCLA team shows
Using a similar method they once used to treat breast cancer, researchers at UCLA are employing nanodiamonds to deliver cancer drugs to the brain, providing treatment for the particularly aggressive glioblastoma. Read more at FierceDrugDelivery.com.
August 2013: Genes that drive brain cancer revealed
About 15% of patients with glioblastoma could receive personalized treatment with drugs currently used in other cancers, based on new research that has identified 18 genes responsible for driving glioblastoma multiforme. Read more at OncologyNurseAdvisor.com.
June 2013: Abnormal metabolic pathway drives cancer-cell growth in glioblastoma subtype
A study led by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC - James) has identified an abnormal metabolic pathway that drives cancer-cell growth in a particular glioblastoma subtype. The finding might lead to new therapies for a subset of patients with glioblastoma, the most common and lethal form of brain cancer. Read more at MedicalNews.net.
May 2013: Research Aims to Develop Vaccine to Target Brain Cancer
Vaccine would train immune system to search and destroy cancer cells. His Guelph undergrad degree first gave Zafir Syed a close-up look at the human brain. Now as a master’s student on his hometown campus, he hopes to help develop novel ways to treat brain cancer. Read more at the University of Guelph.
May 2013: Modified Polio Virus May Help Fight Brain Tumors, Study Suggests
A modified version of the polio virus might one day help fight brain tumors, preliminary research suggests. Scientists at Duke Cancer Institute said the investigational therapy, known as PVSRIPO, uses an engineered form of the virus that is harmless to normal cells, but attacks cancer cells. The therapy shows promise in the treatment of glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive brain tumor, they said. Read more at the National Institute of Health.
May 2013: Scientists find mutation driving pediatric brain tumors
A type of low-grade but sometimes lethal brain tumor in children has been found, in many cases, to contain an unusual mutation that may help to classify, diagnose and guide the treatment of the tumors, report scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Read more at HealthCanal.com
April 2013: University of Windsor cancer researcher gets funding boost
New research into how brain cancer tumors develop has attracted $185,919 in funding to University of Windsor researcher Lisa Porter. Read more at the WindsorStar.com.
April 2013: Personalized Brain Mapping Technique Preserves Function Following Brain Tumor Surgery
Neurosurgeons can visualize important pathways in the brain using an imaging technique called diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), to better adapt brain tumor surgeries and preserve language, visual and motor function while removing cancerous tissue. Read more at ScienceDaily.com.
March 2013: Ottawa scientist receives Innovation Grant to study brain tumours in children
Dr. Valerie Wallace, a senior scientist at the The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, will study — for the first time — a gene involved in the development of medulloblastoma, the most common form of childhood brain cancer, read more in the Ottawa Citizen.
March 2013: Brain tumour cells killed by anti-nausea drug
New research from the University of Adelaide has shown for the first time that the growth of brain tumours can be halted by a drug currently being used to help patients recover from the side effects of chemotherapy. The discovery has been made during a study looking at the relationship between brain tumours and a peptide associated with inflammation in the brain, called "substance P", Read more at HealthCanal.com.
February 2013: EphA3 Maintains Tumorigenicity and Is a Therapeutic Target in Glioblastoma Multiforme
Queensland researchers believe a protein found in up to half of all aggressive brain cancers could explain why recurrence rates are so high. Around 1000 Australians die every year from glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) tumours, the most common form of brain cancer in adults. Read more in the Brisbane Times or in the journal article in Cancer Cell.
January 2013: Experts Urge Rapid Evaluation for Swallowing And Voice Problems After Brain Tumour Surgery
Recently, experts from The John Hopkins Hospital in Maryland (USA) released a recommendation urging immediate evaluation of swallowing and voice issues post-brain surgery for patients with non-malignant tumours removed from the base of the brain. These early assessments, ideally performed within 24 hours of surgery, would identify problems with chewing and swallowing food or speaking normally. The researchers say this type of evaluation could minimize complications associated with vestibular schwannomas. Damage can be caused when these tumours press on cranial nerves (key to controlling the tongue, lips, mouth and throat) or from the operation itself. Read more at the Johns Hopkins website...
January 2013: Genomic Sequencing Reveals Mutant 'Drivers' of Common Brain Tumour
Large-scale genomic sequencing has identified two DNA mutations that appear to drive about 15 percent of brain tumours known as meningiomas, a finding that could lead to the first effective drug treatments for the tumours, report scientists from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Broad Institute. Read more at Scicasts.com...
January 2013: Understanding brain tumor growth opens door for non-surgical treatment
One in 25,000 people worldwide is affected by neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2), a condition where the loss of a tumour suppressor called Merlin results in multiple tumours in the brain and nervous system. Read more at Eurekalert.org...
January 2013: UWindsor prof receives grant to fight brain cancer in children
A University of Windsor professor is hoping her research can help save the lives of children with brain cancer. Dr. Elizabeth Fidalgo da Silva, an adjunct professor in Biological Sciences, is examining the role that a protein called tuberin plays in suppressing a form of brain cancer called medulloblastoma. Read more...

2012 Research News

December 2012: New Targets for Drugs to Defeat Aggressive Brain Tumor
University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) researchers have identified over 125 genetic components in a chemotherapy-resistant, brain tumor-derived cell line, which could offer new hope for drug treatment to destroy the cancer cells. Read more...
December 2012: Sutured Seeds and Seed Sutured Mesh Deliver Impressive Early Results for Both Metastatic Brain Cancer and Meningioma Tumors
IsoRay Inc. (NYSE MKT: ISR), a medical technology company and innovator in seed brachytherapy and medical radioisotope applications, today announced the presentation of clinical findings at two medical centers of the successful treatment of brain cancers and tumors using IsoRay's patented Cesium-131 (Cs-131) sutured seeds and seed sutured mesh for internal radiation therapy. Read the Media Release...
December 2012: Drag-and-Drop Drugs Target Brain Cancer
A drug has been developed to combat a lethal brain cancer using a drag-and-drop DNA-self assembly technique. Read the story at Wired.co.uk.
December 2012: Research Shows Immune System Response Is Detrimental to Novel Brain Cancer Therapy
For the first time, researchers have demonstrated that the response of natural killer (NK) cells is detrimental to glioblastoma virotherapy, a novel way of treating malignant brain cancer by injecting a virus into the tumor. A number of clinical trials are currently underway to test whether glioblastoma virotherapy will facilitate antitumor efficacy... Read the story at Science Daily.
October 2012: Aggressive brain tumors can originate from a range of nervous system cells
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) tumors can originate not only from the glial cells that make up the supportive tissue of the brain and from neural stem cells, but also from other types of differentiated cells in the nervous system, including cortical neurons. These research findings offer an explanation for the recurrence of GBM after treatment and suggest potential new targets to treat these deadly brain tumours. Read the Oncology Nurse Advisor story...
October 2012: Aggressive, Primary Brain Tumour Origination
Scientists have long believed that glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most aggressive type of primary brain tumor, begins in glial cells that make up supportive tissue in the brain or in neural stem cells. In a paper published October 17 in Science, however, researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have found that the tumors can originate from other types of differentiated cells in the nervous system, including cortical neurons. Read the Outcome Magazine story...
October 2012: Because Kids Get Cancer Too
The legacy of a two-year-old boy and a heartfelt donation from his family is having an international impact on research into a rare brain tumour.Alexander Brown died two years ago from cancer but before he passed his parents made the decision to donate his brain so scientists could harvest live cells for their research. Read the CTV News story ...
August 2012: SickKids Researchers Uncover Molecular Markers for Rare Form of Brain Tumour
The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) is now home to a first-of-its-kind data bank of a rare type of childhood brain tumour, called CNS primitive neuro-ectodermal (PNETs), a very aggressive brain tumour for which the molecular features and best treatment approaches are unknown. The study, published in the August 13 issue of The Lancet Oncology, assessed a large cohort of these rare tumours and for the first time, identified molecular markers to differentiate them. Researchers found three molecular subgroups of CNS PNETs that are promising diagnostic and prognostic molecular markers that may allow for more specific treatment of the disease. Read more ...
August, 2012: Study: Allergies Associated with Decreased Risk of Brain Tumours
There's strong evidence to suggest an aversion to dust, pollen, mold, and pets may protect from brain cancer.
Read the story from the Atlantic ...
July 2012: Study Links BPA to Brain Tumours
Diabetes, reproductive disorders, obesity, and cancer are some of the serious medical conditions that bisphenol A (BPA) has been linked to in the past. Now a new study adds one more ailment to the list - brain tumors. A new Chinese study is the first to find a link between human exposure to BPA and brain tumors. The type of tumor is called meningioma. Read more ...
June 2012: Canadian 'Dream Team' to Tackle Brain Cancer
They are a ‘dream team’ comprised of some of the country’s top minds in cancer research. They will harness their talent and technologies to find new treatments for the most common and deadly form of brain cancer among adults with an $8.2-million investment ... Read the story here.
 
June 2012: Kids CT Scans Raise Small Cancer Risk
Receiving CT scan radiation to the head for diagnostic purposes during childhood triples the small risk of developing brain cancer and leukemia later in life, say doctors who recommend keeping doses as low as possible. Read the CBC story.
May 2012: Melanoma Drug Shows Promise in Early Trial
An experimental cancer drug developed may add vital months to the lives of melanoma patients whose disease has spread to their brains, according to data from an early-stage trial. Read the Reuters story.
May 2012: Brain research in Canada gets $100 million boost from Ottawa
Federal health minister Leona Aglukkaq announced in Toronto Thursday plans to create the Canadian Brain Research Fund. It will support neuroscience research looking into commonalities of a wide range of disorders, including depression, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, autism, brain tumours, traumatic brain injury, chronic pain, schizophrenia, addictions, post-traumatic stress, Parkinson and epilepsy. Read the Toronto Star story.
March 2012: The New War on Cancer
Emerging treatments and technology provide hope for thousands of patients. Read this story in the LA Times.
February 2012: Researchers make living model of brain tumor
Brown University scientists have created the first three-dimensional living tissue model, complete with surrounding blood vessels, to analyze the effectiveness of therapeutics to combat brain tumors. The 3-D model gives medical researchers more and better information than Petri dish tissue cultures. Read the story in Science Codex.
February 2012: Study sheds light on why therapy for devastating brain cancer in kids often fails
When a devastating form of brain cancer in kids spreads — and it too often does — treatments are life-changing and often ineffective. A new study is shedding light on why. The work, led by a scientist at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children, has found that in medulloblastoma...     Read the Global story.

January 2012: Mutations Tied To Aggressive Childhood Brain Tumours Revealed By Cancer Sequencing Initiative
Researchers studying a rare, lethal childhood tumour of the brainstem discovered that nearly 80 percent of the tumours have mutations in genes not previously tied to cancer. Early evidence suggests the alterations play a unique role in other aggressive pediatric brain tumours as well. Read more here.

January 2012: Patient Care Could Be Revolutionized By Diagnostic Brain Tumour Test
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have developed what they believe to be the first clinical application of a new imaging technique to diagnose brain tumuors. The unique test could preclude the need for surgery in patients whose tumours are located in areas of the brain too dangerous to biopsy. Read more here.
January 2012: Recurrent Mutations in H3F3A in Some Pediatric Brain Tumour Cases
Two new studies identify the same recurrent mutations in H3F3A in pediatric cases of glioblastoma multiforme and diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma. These are the first reports of human disease associated with mutations in histones, which play an extraordinarily important and conserved role in chromatin structure and gene regulation. Read more on Nature.com.
January 2012: Team finds new way to image brain tumors, predict recurrence
team from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) has developed methods to reveal a molecular marker in tissue samples from brain tumors that has been linked to better survival odds. Monitoring this marker in the brain could provide doctors with a better way to follow their patients after surgery. Read more ...
January 2012: Brain Tumours Sensitized To Chemotherapy By Selectively Stopping Glutathione
Brain cancer cells are particularly resistant to chemotherapy - toxins enter the cells, but before the toxins can kill, cancer cells quickly pump them back outside. In fact, brain cancer cells are even better than healthy cells at cleaning themselves. Read more ...
January 2012: Therapy can add years to certain brain tumor patients' lives
The growing science of personalized medicine has good news for a select group of brain tumor patients: Combination therapy can double their survival, to nearly 15 years. Read the story in USA Today...
January 2012: Using Weather Forcasting to Predict Brain Tumour Growth
Arizona State University researchers believe their research in improving weather forecasting could be applied to brain cancer. Their proof-of-concept study, published by Biology Direct, shows they might be correct. Read more...
January 2012: Genome Sequencing of Pediatric Medulloblastoma Links Catastrophic DNA Rearrangements with TP53 Mutations
German scientists have discovered the first whole genome sequence of a medulloblastoma, apaediatric tumour. Read the article is the journal Cell and the article in Medical News.
January 2012: Agent Shows Ability to Suppress Brain Metastases and Related Damage
Scientists are one step closer to figuring out and repairing the damage caused by brain metastases. This area has been a challenging one for neuro-oncologists and researchers, and understanding the mechanisms and effects of brain metastases can help manage both patient care and treatment. Read more ...

2011 Research News

December 2011: Familial brain tumours
While inherited susceptibility might play a part in glioma the international Gliogene study (involving centres in the USA, UK, Sweden, Denmark and Israel), led by Dr Melissa Bondy, analysed the genetic makeup of 75 families where two or more members had glioma and identified a particular region on chromosome 17 called 17q12-21.3 as worthy of further study and sequencing. In the course of its study the group identified 1,000 families worldwide who are in the unfortunate category of having two or more members with glioma. Read more...
December 2011: Summary Report on the Graded Prognostic Assessment: An Accurate and Facile Diagnosis-Specific Tool to Estimate Survival for Patients with Brain Metastases
The Graded Prognostic Assessment (GPA) is a prognostic index for patients with brain metastases. A database of over 3900 people with newly diagnosed brain metastases underwent analyses of prognostic factors association with outcomes by primary site and treatment. Read more in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
December 2011: Improved Treatments for Brain Cancers Highlighted at Annual Society of Neuro-Oncology (SNO) Meeting
1400 neuro-oncologist and other cancer health care professionals gathered recently at the annual Society of Neuro-Oncology (SNO) Meeting to learn about advances made in the past year. Many of the most promising approaches were in the areas of immunotherapy and vaccines. Read more...
November, 2011: Mechanism Discovered In Brain Cancer Responsible For Neuron Death
Researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center and the VCU Institute of Molecular Medicine have discovered a mechanism by which glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most common form of brain cancer, promotes the loss of function or death of neurons, a process known as neurodegeneration. Read more ...
October, 2011: Distinguishing Oligodendrogliomas From Other Cancers
This article in the Journal of Pathology looks at the unique clinical, pathological, and genetic features of Oligodendroglioma including recurrent losses of chromosomes 1p and 19q.
September, 2011: Use of mobile phones and risk of brain tumours: update of Danish cohort study
The debate continues with the publication and open access availability in the British Medical Journal of an update of the Danish cohort study which provides “little evidence for a causal association”. Read more ...
September, 2011: First medication for children with brain tumours approved in Canada
Health Canada recently gave conditional approval of a new therapeutic use for the drug Afinitor* (everolimus). It is the first drug therapy approved in Canada for the treatment of brain tumours caused by TSC in patients three years of age and older. Read the media release here.
August, 2011: Researchers Identify Possible Meningioma Gene
Swedish researchers have identified a gene variant, related to the MLLT10 on chromosome 10 associated with hematologic (blood) tumours, that may increase the likelihood that a person will develop a meningioma brain tumour. Read more...
August, 2011: GBM and Two Cancers Share Genetic Link
In a recent study, 20% of brain cancer (glioblastoma multiforme), skin cancer (malignant melanoma), and bone cancer (Ewings sarcoma) samples were found to have no STAG2 protein, often due to a missing or mutated STAG2 gene. Read more ...
August, 2011: Mutations on Choromosomes 1 and 19 Key to Oligodendroglioma
Researchers have discovered the primary genetic mutations that lead to oligodendrogliomas, the second-most-common brain tumour type in adults. In a recent study, scientists were able to sequence the exomes, or protein-coding portions of DNA, in seven oligodendroglioma tumours, and found that two genes, CIC and FUBP1, were frequently mutated. Further research on 27 additional oligodendroglioma samples confirmed the findings. The discovery adds to the scientific understanding of the genes involved in the growth of this tumour. Read more...
August, 2011: Brain Tumour Research Reaches Next Set of Milestones
The Dr. Peter Dirks laboratory is now testing a number of drugs that showed effectiveness on blocking human brain tumour stem cell growth in culture for their ability to block human tumour growth in animal models, which is the key stepping stone to move a drug to trials for human patients. Read the media release about this research here.
July, 2011: Hyperbaric Oxygen Tested For Aggressive Brain Cancer
In a unique study, researchers at The Long Island Brain Tumor Center at Neurological Surgery, P.C. are examining whether hyperbaric oxygen therapy breathing pure oxygen while in a pressurized chamber may prove a useful addition to the current standard of care for patients newly diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer. Read more ...
July, 2011: Two clinical Trials at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
The Focused Ultrasound Surgery Foundation has announced it is funding two new clinical trials at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. The studies will evaluate the feasibility and safety of MR-guided focused ultrasound as a treatment for essential tremor and malignant brain tumors. Read about the studies and how to become involved here.
July, 2011: Just Add Water And ... Treat Brain Cancer
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have developed a technique that delivers gene therapy into human brain cancer cells using nanoparticles that can be freeze-dried and stored for up to three months prior to use. Read more here.
July, 2011: Understanding Glioblastoma at the Genetic, Molecular Level
Glioblastoma is the most common and most lethal form of brain tumor. Research published in the International Journal of Computational Biology and Drug Design offers a novel way to determine what biological functions go awry when the tumor first begins to form. Read the story in Medical News Today.
July, 2011: Magnetic Nanoparticles Fry Tumors
Any parent fretting over a child's fever knows that temperatures just a few degrees above normal can kill. But cancer researchers have now found a way to make high temperatures heal. In a new study, a team found that injecting mice with tiny magnets and cranking up the heat eliminated tumors from the animals' bodies with no apparent side effects. Read more about this here.
June, 2011: New imaging technique helps detect brain tumours earlier
Brain tumours are often very difficult for doctors to find. Current imaging techniques that find other types of cancer without difficulty still often can’t easily find brain tumours. That means many patients are diagnosed with brain cancer too late for successful treatment. A team of Ontario researchers at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto hopes to change this. Read more here.
March, 2011: Gene fusion mechanisms offer new clues to origin of paediatric brain tumours
A detailed analysis of gene fusions present at high frequency in the most common paediatric brain tumours has been performed for the first time in a study published recently, shedding new light on how these genomic rearrangements form in the early stages of cancer. Read the story in Science Centric.
January, 2011: Brain Cancer: A Ray of Hope
A recent article by Dr. Richard Beliveau outlines the encouraging results or recent studies about a drug that may be effective against primary and secondary brain tumours. Read his article in the Toronto Sun.
January, 2011: Some Brain Tumors Mimic The Genetic Program Of Germline Cells
Scientists at IRB Barcelona have discovered that some brain tumours in larvae of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster use the genetic programme of germline cells to grow. The removal of some of these genes leads to healthy brains. Read the story in Medical News Today.
January, 2011: Researchers Pinpoint Origin Of Deadly Brain Tumor - Oligodendrogliomas
Scientists have identified the type of cell that is at the origin of brain tumors known as oligodendrogliomas, which are a type of glioma - a category that defines the most common type of malignant brain tumor. Read the story in Medical News Today.
January, 2011: Gene Deletion Linked to Glioblastoma
New research found that up to one in four glioblastoma patients have a deleted gene which may contribute to tumor development, promote resistance to therapy, and considerably worsen a patient's outcome. The gene, known as NFKBIA, triggers biochemical processes similar to those resulting from a better-known aberration in epidermal growth factor receptor, or EGFR, also commonly found in glioblastoma. That both defects produce the same outcome may help explain why efforts to treat the disease by targeting only one aberration have faltered. Learn more in the New England Journal of Medicine.
 

 

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