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  December, 2009  


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Share Holiday Greetings While Supporting ABTA
American Brain Tumor Association holiday cards can be ordered online. Read more 

Patient Meeting Presentations Available at abta.org
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ABTA Events  
 

ABTA Headlines Now Available
The 2009 Fall-Winter issue of Headlines, ABTA’s newsletter, is available online. The new issue includes articles on how imaging technology advances are improving brain tumor treatment and care, the value of clinical trials, effectively communicating with your survivorship team, and 2009 event photos and highlights. Read the 2009 Fall-Winter Headlines.

Registration Open for 5th Annual Path to Progress Run/Walk
Join us on May 22, 2010 – during Brain Tumor Action Month – at the 5th Annual Path to Progress Run/Walk at Soldier Field.  Early registration is now open: Receive $5 off your registration fee through Jan. 31, 2010. To receive this offer, use the discount code* – EARLYBIRD. (*One promotion code per registrant please.) New! We are offering a 1 mile Survivor Strut, available to all interested walkers. If you have any questions, please e-mail us at pathtoprogress@abta.org, or call 800.886.1281. Read more

  

 
 

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Treatment Tab  
 

Four-Country Study Finds No Brain Tumor-Cell Phone Link
A new study conducted in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, did not find a link between cell phone use and brain tumors.  Researchers looked at cell phone use and brain tumor incidence rates in those countries between 1974 and 2003, and especially during the 1990s when mobile phone use “increased sharply.”  The study authors found no change in incidence trends from 1998 to 2003, the time when possible associations between mobile phone use and cancer risk would be most conclusive.
Read a free summary of the research. Read more about the ongoing debate regarding cell phone use and brain tumors at the ABTA Web site.  

ABTA Supported Research:

Notch Inhibition May Make Brain Tumor Cells More Receptive to Radiation
In a new laboratory study, researchers identified a known signaling pathway called Notch as responsible for making brain tumor stem cells – the source of cancer cell growth and proliferation – resistant to radiation treatment. Researchers used a type of drug called gamma-secretase inhibitors to block the Notch pathway, combined with radiation to successfully kill tumor cells in a laboratory setting. The study appears in the December journal Stem Cells. Read a free summary of the research. Read a news release from Duke University Medical Center.  

Tumor-attacking virus strikes with one-two punch
Researchers believe they have developed a tumor-attacking virus that kills both brain tumor cells and blocks the growth of new tumor blood vessels, essential for continued tumor growth. The study, published in the December issue of Molecular Therapy, found that viruses designed to kill cancer cells – oncolytic viruses – might be more effective against aggressive brain tumors if they also carry a gene for a protein that inhibits blood vessel growth. In this study, an oncolytic virus containing the gene for a protein called vasculostatin, normally produced in the brain, eliminated some human glioblastoma multiforme tumors growing in animals. Future studies will reveal the treatment’s potential when combined with chemotherapy and radiation. Read a news release from The Ohio State Medical Center.  Read a free summary of the research.

Newly discovered gene plays role in medulloblastoma tumor
The master gene Math1 may be involved in the development of medulloblastoma, a common childhood brain tumor, according to a new report in the December journal Science. According to the research, Math1 is important for making a critical set of cells called granule neurons in the cerebellum, which controls motor functions such as balance for walking and standing. Granule neurons come from a small area at the top of the hindbrain – the part of the embryo brain that eventually becomes the pons, the medulla oblongata and the cerebellum portions of the adult brain. Medulloblastoma is thought to originate in the hindbrain in children. The findings may provide a new treatment target in treating medulloblastomas, according to the study authors. Read a news release from Baylor College of Medicine. Read a free summary of the research.

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Patient Care and Support  
 

More than Half of Cancer Patients Say Cost of Care Negatively Affects Recovery
A new study from the Association of Oncology Social Work (AOSW) found that the “extraordinary financial hardships” associated with a cancer diagnosis “often complicate or compromise a patient’s battle against cancer.” The study included 169 cancer patients, 131 caregivers, and oncology social workers/AOSW members. Among the other study findings:

  • 66 percent of oncology social workers said that financial issues reduce patient compliance with cancer treatment;
  • 40 percent of patients reported using up their entire savings paying for cancer treatment, and 30 percent reported dealing with bill collectors;
  • 66 percent of patients with major financial challenges suffer depression and anxiety
  • 29 percent delay filling prescriptions due to financial pressure and 22 percent skip doses.

Oncology social workers, well trained and experienced in cancer-related challenges, can help patients and families to reduce stress and access helpful resources. Read a news release on the study from AOSW. 

The American Brain Tumor Association’s dedicated team of licensed social workers is also available to talk with families about available resources. Please call 1.800.886.2282, or send an e-mail to info@abta.org for more information.

Insomnia common among cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy
Eighty percent of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy reported sleep difficulties, according to a new study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Specifically, 43 percent of patients met the clinical criteria for “insomnia syndrome,” and 27 percent had symptoms. Insomnia was most prevalent among lung cancer patients and cancer patients under age 58. Patients with insomnia syndrome reported more depression (32.3 percent) and fatigue (45.5 percent).  The authors speculate that the side effects of cancer treatments, combined with the stress and anxiety of a cancer diagnosis may contribute to insomnia.  Patients who have difficulty sleeping should talk to their doctor who can provide tools and treatments to reduce symptoms. Read a free summary of the study. Read an article on the study from Cancer Advances, the electronic newsletter of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.  

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tab clinical trials
NIH Establishes National Research Study Recruitment Registry
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has established a new nationwide registry to match clinical trial volunteers with researchers. ResearchMatch.org has a simple goal – to bring together two groups of people who are looking for one another: (1) people who are trying to find research studies, and (2) researchers who are looking for people to participate in their studies, according to the Web site.  The free and secure registry was developed by major academic institutions across the country, with funding from NIH. Read more about ResearchMatch.org. Read more about clinical trials at the ABTA Web site. Read more about Clinical trials at NIH.

Novel Immunotherapy Clinical Trial for GBM Patients Now Recruiting
A Phase I and II study using Allogenic-Cytomegalovirus (CMV) cells to treat GBM is currently recruiting patients. The trial is based on previous research that found a relationship between CMV and GBM. Because the CMV virus has been found on the surface of a significant number of GBM tumors, researchers believe it can be used as an effective target for immunotherapy. Read a fact sheet on the study from the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center at Penn State. Read the clinical trial description from the National Institutes of Health.

 

The ABTA E-News 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. Inclusion in the ABTA E-News is not a recommendation of any Web site, product, treatment, physician or hospital.

The American Brain Tumor Association funds brain tumor research, and offers services to patients and family members worldwide. Help us continue these services by supporting ABTA programs. A donation can be made at http://www.abta.org/index.cfm?contentid=54.  This information is provided by the American Brain Tumor Association, 2720 River Road, Des Plaines, Illinois, 60018.  We can be reached by e-mail at info@abta.org, or by phone at 800-886-2282.

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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 Web sites or individual(s)/companies/institutions operating these websites.