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Brain Tumor News!

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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06/02/20 First Patient Treated in Phase 1 Clinical Trial Of Incysus Therapeutics Gamma Delta (?d) T Cell Immunotherapy for Patients With Newly Diagnosed Glioblastoma        

 This is obviously too early to tell how it works but it is an exciting new concept and I wish them luck.

06/02/20 Factors Affecting Survival in Glioblastoma: A 10-year Single-Center Experience From Saudi Arabia        

 I posted this to show that even though we sometimes feel that no progress is being made, we need to remember how bad this disease is and appreciate what we do have.  This report shows that the average survival in this hospital in Saudia Arabia (from 2005 to 2015) is only 8 months!  They probably picked 2005 because that is when Temozolomide was approved for Glioblastoma, although it was commonly used here in the USA for Glioblastomas since 1999 when it was approved for anaplastic astrocytoma. (My dad used it for a gbm in 1999!).  They do not mention Optune, even though it was approved in 2011.

06/02/20 Novocure Announces Launch of MyLink™ to Enable Patient-Guided, Remote Download of Optune® Usage Data        

  This is a great tool. All Optune users should use it to monitor their compliance.   There is a big dose response curve, showing that people who use it over 90% of the time do the best and it is a big effect. See for details.  So 90% should be the target and try to go even higher!

06/01/20 Phase 2a study to evaluate the safety, pharmacokinetics, and clinical activity of the PI3K / mTOR inhibitor GDC-0084 given to glioblastoma (GBM) patients with unmethylated MGMT promotor status        


 This is an experimental drug - which in this poster from ASCO shows a small trial of 8 patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma, unmethylated MGMT, who did pretty good compared to what we have seen previously with Temozolomide.  This opens a new option for unmethylated MGMT patients, and perhaps eventually in combinations for all gbm (and DIPG and brain met patients.


05/29/20 Brain Tumor Webinars!        

 This next webinar is about a vaccine that looks promising.  Bring all of your questions about vaccines and other immunotherapies!  

Note that we use Zoom as the meeting room and Zoom has been doing a lot of security updates recently so leave a few extra minutes in case you need to download the latest version of zoom (it might tell you you have to update before joining the webinar). It is simple - just follow the directions - but it may take a few extra minutes and we usually start right on time!

This is the last webinar in our Brain Tumor Awareness Month Webinar series - but we will add more webinars when we find an interesting topic / speaker!  Feel free to suggest topics and speakers!

05/29/20 Al Musella's ASCO Highlights Part 1        


 Here are my thoughts on the most important abstacts so far.  This is a first pass - I may add to this on our forum!
Let's discuss them in our forum - did I miss any?  Let me know. Go to to discuss these!


05/29/20 Al Musella's ASCO Highlights Part 2        

 Some more of what I feel are the most important reports from ASCO 2020!

05/29/20 ONC201 in previously irradiated pediatric H3 K27M-mutant glioma or newly diagnosed DIPG.        

 This is one of many abstracts about Onc201 presented at the Annual American Society of Clinical Oncology conference taking place this week.  To see the entire list of Onc201 abstracts, go to:

This abstract reports on a fascinating finding.  Onc201 is an experimental oral drug that blocks DRD2.  Tumors with the H3K27m mutation, mostly diffuse midline glioma and DIPG, usually have a high expression of DRD2 so should benefit most from this drug. The research shows that the tumors that respond best to Onc201 have a low level of EGFR and conversely, tumors with a high EGFR do not respond as well.  Their conclusion is that EGFR and DRD2 perform similiar functions - so if EGFR is high, blocking DRD2 doesn't help much.   My conclusion is that we should try to combine Onc201 with a drug or vaccine that blocks EGFR - perhaps we will have a treatment that most high grade brain tumors respond to.

Disclosure:  The Musella Foundation gave a venture philanthropy grant to Oncoceutics and will benefit if Onc201 is ever FDA approved.


05/29/20 Musella Foundation Copay Assistance program is running low on funding        

 This program is a life saver. I started it because both of my family members who had glioblastomas also had problems with the cost of their treatments.  The program is funded by donations directed to this program and does NOT take anything away from the money we raise for brain tumor research. That is a seperate fund.  When making a donation, you can tell us which fund to apply your donation to and if you want to just fund research, 100% of your donation will go to brain tumor research!  You can make donations at

05/29/20 ASCO Brain Tumor Abstracts From The Experts!        


 ASCO is one of the 2 biggest brain tumor conferences of the year (SNO is the other one),  Here we have 2 of the superstars of the brain tumor world giving their thoughts on the most important abstracts from ASCO!


05/29/20 Musella Foundation Awards Pediatric Brain Tumor Research Grant!        

    This is an important project to try a new approach to treating these horrific tumors!


05/29/20 Temozolomide Antagonizes Oncolytic Immunovirotherapy in Glioblastoma        

 This shows the importance of the timing and sequencing of treatments - and how we can not rely on just test tube results.

05/28/20 A comprehensive survey reveals bacteria are widespread in human tumors and differ by tumor type        

 I never heard of this before.  Very exciting if it is true. I would love to see other scientists repeat this and figure out how important this is. It may open an entire new way to fight cancer!

05/25/20 Brain Tumor Awareness Webinars!        

 We had some technical problems again last night with the Facebook feed... sorry about that.  The edited version we posted is complete (the editing was just trim the dead space and add an opening and closing title.)

Last night was great - we learned about a new system that lets the doctor look at the pathology slides and see what is tumor and not tumor during the surgery to check margins and make sure they got as much of the tumor out as possible.

Our next webinar is also special - Dr Bota is working on an advanced type of vaccine that looks good in early testing.

05/24/20 Brain Tumor Webinar Series Continues tonight Sunday 5/24/2020 at 7PM Eastern        

 Dr Orringer invented a new way for the surgeon to tell the difference between normal brain tissue and tumor tissue as well as what grade of tumor it, quickly while still in the surgery.  He also specializes in brain mapping and tumors of the speech and movement areas of the brain.  He is involved in several brain tumor clinical trials.  Should be a very interesting webinar!

05/21/20 No OS Boost With Opdivo in Recurrent Glioblastoma        

 This study shows that using Opdivo by itself doesn't work well in recurrent glioblastoma. My thoughts are that something else is needed to trigger the immune response, then Opdivo can enhance that response.   It might be something as simple as Optune - by killing cells, neoantigens are released and the immune system gets primed. Opdivo could theoretically enhance that immune response. Or a vaccine. Or more radiation.  These things need to be tested further!

05/21/20 Brain Tumor Webinar Series Continues        

 These events have been informative and fun. You can view past events on our website at

Join us live to be able to ask questions


05/20/20 Hoag is First in Nation to Test Innovative Antibody Brain Cancer Drug        

 Of course it is too early to tell if it will work but I love the idea of trying new ways to attack this problem!

05/19/20 Novel Immunotherapy Approach Holds Promise for Pediatric Brain Cancer        

 Interesting concept - should work for any tumor that has p53 mutations! Hopefully human trials will start soon!

05/17/20 Musella Foundation Brain Tumor Awareness Month Webinar Series        

 These webinars are very informative and give you the chance to learn new things, and to ask questions of experts in the field! Well worth going to the live events!

Our last event was about a new form of radiation in clinical trials that looks very promising.  Anyone with a recurrent glioblastoma should at least ask their doctor about it.

Our next event is advances in neurosurgery!

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