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April 2014

ABTA TabAsk an ABTA Researcher
The ABTA receives so many great questions from patients, caregivers and supporters across the country, that we thought it would be great to share the questions we get and, more importantly, the answers.

Maria Sambade

Q: Are generic drugs equally as effective as the name brand medicine?

Answer provided by Maria J. Sambade, PhD. Dr. Sambade is a research associate in Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center working with Dr. Carey Anders, studying how brain metastases of breast, lung and melanoma cancers might be made more sensitive to radiation therapy. Click here to read Dr. Sambade's full answer.

We would love to hear from you. If you have a question you would like to submit, click here.  

Registration is Open for the 2014 Patient and Family Conference
Patient Family ConferenceJoin us for the ABTA's 2014 conference, "Providing and Pursuing Answers: Advances in Research, Treatment and Care," taking place July 25-26 in Chicago.

Meet and speak with leading neuro-oncology physicians and researchers, allied health care professionals and other patients and caregivers. Register at 


ABTA-funded Research Moves Further into Development
Tocagen Inc., has announced that their investigational therapy using Toca 511 & Toca FC, whose development was partially supported by an ABTA Clinical Research Grant, has moved forward into a new clinical trial. In this trial, the drug will be delivered intravenously (IV) prior to surgery, as well as into the tumor directly. (Previous trials delivered the drug directly into the tumor, without the pre-surgical IV dosing.) The treatment is being offered to patients with recurrent high grade glioma, including glioblastoma, who meet specific eligibility guidelines. Click here to read more about the Tocagen trial.

[object Object]Get Ready to Raise Awareness
It's only early April, but May - Brain Tumor Awareness Month - will be here before we know it. Be sure to keep an eye out for an email about how you can do some new and exciting things to raise awareness for brain tumors and the ABTA this May. Get a head start and order gray wristbands from the ABTA store to show your support of our mission.

tab research news

Changes Come to NCI Clinical Trial Standards
Based on a report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), is making changes to keep pace with advances in the scientific understanding of cancer. A new National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN) will bring together larger groups of investigators and distribute resources in a more effective way to improve the speed and efficiency of clinical trials. In addition, at the local level, NCI will be combining several existing programs into an NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP), that allows community-based care programs to benefit from resources available through the NCTN. To read more about these changes, click here.

Genetic Mutations Found in Craniopharyngiomas
While much genetic research focuses on malignant gliomas, ABTA 2012 Fellowship recipient Priscilla Brastianos, MD, along with ABTA Scientific Advisor, Edward Laws, Jr., MD, and a team of researchers recently identified two gene mutations linked to craniopharyngiomas. The research team’s study revealed BRAF mutations in 95% of papillary craniopharyngiomas (36 of 39 tumors) and CTNNB1 mutations in 96% of adamantinomatous craniopharyngiomas (51 of 53 tumors). The discoveries are important because the genetic changes offer researchers the opportunity to develop molecularly-guided therapies targeted against these mutations. The study was partially funded by the ABTA, and recently published study in Nature Genetics. Read the article here.

Interested in learning more about craniopharyngioma? The ABTA will offer a webinar on this topic May 6, 2014. Click here to register.

Online Education Tab

Craniopharyngiomas WebinarTuesday, May 6 at 1 p.m. – Treatment of Craniopharyngiomas: An Updated on Current Trends in Surgical, Medical and Radiation Therapy.

Join Kevin Lillehei, MD, of University of Colorado Hospital, as he discussed the clinical presentation of craniopharyngioma, the associated pathological features, their management and current trends in therapy. Click here to RSVP.

Missed a webinar? You can watch it anytime. 
All of the ABTA's past webinars are online at the Anytime Learning section of  

tab events

First BT5K Starts an Event Season of Breakthroughs 
The Tampa Bay BT5K took place on March 29, and was an enormous success. More than $80,000 was raised thanks to over 670 participants who came out to show support of the ABTA. Click here to see photos from the event.

This event is the first of many thorughout the spring season. Visit to find an event near you! 

Babes Against Brain Cancer Tampa BayTeam "Babes Against Brain Cancer" at the Tampa Bay BT5K


Run with Heidi this October
Heidi Tyrrell Team BreakthroughThe ABTA still has guaranteed entries for the 2014 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. You can run with supporters like Heidi Tyrrell, a brain tumor survivor and member of Team Breakthrough. Heidi will be running 26.2 miles just days before her one year anniversary of brain surgery. "This is my time to give back and raise awareness about brain tumors," Heidi said. "I'll be running my heart out and showing cancer that a brain tumor will not stop me, but rather make me stronger and more determined."

Visit to learn about how you can join Heidi as part of Team Breakthrough this year!

Founded in 1973, the American Brain Tumor Association was the first and is now the only national organization committed to funding brain tumor research and providing information, support and educational resources for all age groups and all  tumor types. For more information, visit or call 800-886-ABTA (2282).
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The "American Brain Tumor Association" name and logo,  the "Breakthrough for Brain Tumors" name and logo, the "Team Breakthrough" name and logo and "TrialConnect" are registered trademarks of the American Brain Tumor Association. All rights reserved. 
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This communication is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice and does not provide advice on treatments or conditions for individual patients. All health and treatment decisions must be made in consultation with your physician(s), utilizing your specific medical information. The links set out on this communication are provided for your convenience only. The American Brain Tumor Association does not endorse the information contained on the linked websites or individual(s)/companies/institutions operating these websites.