2008 Research Grants

In 2008, seven new grants were awarded to researchers across Canada.

Dr. James R. Perry

Head, Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine
Associate Professor of Medicine, Neurology and Medical Oncology
Tony Crolla Chair in Brain Tumour Research
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and Odette Cancer Centre, Toronto, ON
Project: Patterns of relapse for patients with glioblastoma treated in the “Stupp” era of chemoradiation.

Research Outcome: The purpose of this study was to evaluate patterns of recurrence of GBM in patients treated with conventional RT/TMZ, and to assess the effect of different treatments at the time of recurrence upon survival.

In Dr. Perry’s study, the pattern of recurrence of GBM treated with RT/TMZ chemoradiation was predominantly local, which is similar to what was seen prior to the use of TMZ. This knowledge is important as it has implications in the surveillance of tumour recurrence and the treatment of recurrent tumours. His findings also demonstrate that first-line treatment with continuous DD-TMZ may be a viable treatment option in patients with recurrent GBM, as it is better tolerated, with similar overall survival to other conventional salvage regimens.

Dr. Perry’s findings add to the growing body of medical literature on these topics, but believes that large prospective studies are needed to definitively characterize patterns of recurrence and to ascertain the optimal treatment protocol for recurrent GBM after upfront exposure to RT/TMZ. 

Dr. Paul Steinbok

Professor, Medical Director-Neurosciences Program
University of British Columbia, Children’s & Women’s Health Centre of BC
Project: Thalamic Brain Tumours in Canada in the MRI era

Dr. David Roberge

Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology
McGill University Health Centre
Project: A phase II study of hair sparing intensity modulated whole brain radiotherapy and topical Tempol in the treatment of brain metastases.

The purpose of this research was to assess the hair-sparing potential of a combination of hair sparing intensity-modulated whole brain radiotherapy and topical radioprotection using Tempol.

Research Outcome: The data revealed that the combination of hair-sparing intensity modulated WBRT and concomitant topical Tempol is feasible, well-tolerated by patients, and shows evidence of a partial reduction in radiation-induced alopecia in half of patients – an apparent improvement from the complete hair loss expected in patients receiving WBRT. Dr. Roberge concludes that future areas of investigation may include more convenient methods of Tempol application, use of a control group, and inclusion of patients with primary intracranial tumours.

Dr. Mark Giles Hamilton

Associate Professor of Neurosurgery, Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Calgary
Project: Determination of the methylation status of different regions within Glioblastoma multiforme and its relevance to treatment outcome. The research was completed in 2010.

Research Outcome: The study showed that methylation status was consistent throughout the Glioblastoma tumour but methylation status varied depending if the DNA was extracted from paraffin-embedded versus frozen tissue, which was found concerning. Although the reason for this is unclear, they postulate that the timing from resection to fixation or the process of fixation itself may potentially alter methylation status in paraffin-embedded tumours. This has important implications if methylation status is to be used for clinical decision-making.

Dr Hamilton is Associate Professor of Neurosurgery in the Department of Clinical Neurosciences University of Calgary; Chief, Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery Alberta Children's Hospital and Director of Neurosurgical Oncology and Director of the Adult Hydrocephalus Program Foothills Hospital.

Dr. Rolando F. Del Maestro

William Feindel Chair in Neuro-Oncology
Director, Brain Tumour Research Centre
Professor, Division of Neurosurgery and Oncology
Montreal Neurological Hospital and Institute
Project: Molecular and Cellular Characterization of Tumour MGMT from Patients Treated with Temozolomide.

Dr. Jean-Claude Bertrand

Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, McGill University
Project: Combi-EGFR-, EGFR-vIII-DNA targeting molecules: a novel chemotherapeutic alternative to temodal-based therapy of gliomas.

Dr. Thanh Binh Nguyen

Assistant Professor, University of Ottawa Neuroradiologist
Department of Diagnostic Imaging, The Ottawa Hospital
Project: Evaluation of magnetic resonance T1-weighted perfusion imaging in the diagnosis and therapeutic monitoring of patients presenting with cerebral glioma.

Research Outcome: The purpose of this research was to evaluate the use of magnetic resonance (MR) T1-weighted perfusion imaging to improve the preoperative diagnosis and therapeutic monitoring of patients presenting with gliomas. The research was completed in 2011.

The data from the research revealed that volume transfer coefficients and plasma volume values obtained using a technique employing phase-derived VIF and bookend T1 measurements can help in differentiating low grade from high grade gliomas. Dr. Nguyen believes this approach has significant potential for improving diagnostic accuracy of preoperative glioma grading when compared with MRI methods currently used to assess tumour perfusion. You can read more about Dr. Nguyen's research in this article in the Journal of American Neuroradiology.

Study Update - September 2013: The study was opened in December 2012. Since then, we have enrolled 12 patients with high grade gliomas who have suspected tumor recurrence or radiation necrosis. Seven out of those 12 patients have had surgery (4 with only tumor recurrence and 3 with a mixed tumor recurrence and radiation necrosis.). We have finished testing 3 perfusion softwares (Olea, NordicIce and PMI) to determine which one to use for analysis. We will be processing our MR perfusion data and will have preliminary results soon.


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