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Research News


US FDA grants orphan drug designation to Tocagen
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted Tocagen orphan drug and Fast Track designations to their lead investigational compound, Toca 511 & Toca FC, for the treatment of recurrent high-grade glioma. The treatment kills tumor cells leading to activation of the immune system. – PR Newswire


Study focuses on carboplatin in pediatric low-grade glioma patients
A retrospective study of 266 patients has found that chemotherapy with carboplatin alone may be as effective as multiagent chemotherapy in children with inoperable low-grade gliomas. – Wiley Online Library


Cytomegalovirus and glioblastoma ― taking stock of the perplexing evidence to date
After examining 10 years of research, neurosurgeon Dr. Charles Cobbs gives his thoughts on the association and possible role of cytomegalovirus in the growth of glioblastoma, a highly aggressive brain tumor type. –


New protocol for MRIs in brain tumor clinical trials announced
The Jumpstarting Brain Tumor Drug Development Coalition has announced a new protocol for MRIs in brain tumor clinical trials. The protocol will allow doctors to better assess if a new treatment is effective. – Applied Clinical Trials


Study shows delaying chemoradiotherapy to permit molecular testing does not negatively affect outcomes
Based on a retrospective analysis, researchers found that delaying the initiation of chemoradiotherapy after surgery by 8 days (i.e., from 27 days to 35 days) to allow for testing of MGMT promoter status did not significantly affect patients’ survival in adults with glioblastoma. Rather, it was found that starting radiation therapy sooner than 24 days after surgery was found to have a negative impact. – BMC Cancer


Noninvasive laser technique identifies cancerous, healthy tissue before operating
Surgeons at Charing Cross Hospital in London are studying the use of a laser probe to distinguish brain tumor tissue from healthy tissue during the operation. The technique has also been tried in Montreal, Canada. – BBC News


New study examines modified Atkins diet for malignant glioma patients
Investigators report on the effects a modified Atkins diet on malignant glioma in a small group of adult patients. – Oxford Journals


Medulloblastomas now classified before surgery
Researchers at Children's Hospital Los Angeles have determined that the four subgroups of medulloblastoma can be recognized at diagnosis using imaging. – EurekAlert!


Spotlight: California-based scientists experience immunotherapy breakthrough outside of lab
Meet Dr. Dan Chen and Dr. Ira Mellman, two accomplished scientists who experienced a “eureka” moment outside of the lab. Their conceptual breakthrough – named the Cancer-Immunity Cycle, has become an intellectual framework for cancer immunotherapy research. – Genentech


Gender influences survival after childhood brain tumor diagnosis
A study shows that girls diagnosed with pediatric brain tumors are likely to live six years longer than boys diagnosed with the disease. The study examined 97 patients — 43 females and 54 males —21 or younger, who were diagnosed with a high-grade glioma. – Weill Cornell Medical College


PBTF helps conduct study that examines potential years of life lost in young brain tumor patients
In the realm of childhood cancers, incidence and survival rates are commonly reported statistics, but these may fail to capture the full impact of the disease. In a new study, researchers, including PBTF’s vice president of research, describe the years of potential life lost and years of life lived with disease in children and adolescents who died of cancer in the United States. – Cancer Medicine Journal


Cancer community concerned about EU proposal
A recent European Parliament resolution may impose that researchers be required to ask for a patient's ‘specific’ consent each time new research is carried out on already available data and/or tissues. The unintended consequence of the wording may put at stake the practice of retrospective clinical research, tissue banking and population-based cancer registries.


Parents donate child’s tumor tissue to research
After losing their 6-year-old son to DIPG, parents Lenore and Trevor Wyant donated his tumor tissue to research, hoping to find answers for other children battling the disease. Because of donated tissue samples, scientists were able to conduct the studies that led to the discovery reported in 2012, that unique genetic mutations are present in 80 percent of DIPG samples. –USA Today


Childhood cancer survivors face more health issues in adulthood
According to a federally funded study led by researchers at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, adult survivors of childhood cancer face significant health problems as they age. The study shows that these survivors are five times more likely than their siblings to develop new cancers beyond the age of 35. –Science Daily