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  January, 2010  


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Run, walk or strut along the 2010 Path to Progress. Learn more. 

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ABTA Events  

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Save $5: Register Early for the 5th Annual Path to Progress Run/Walk
Join us at 8:30 a.m. on May 22, 2010 at the 5th Annual Path to Progress 5K Run/Walk at Soldier Field. This year’s event includes a new 1 Mile Strut, open to anyone interested in a shorter course. Register by Jan. 31st and get $5 off your registration fee. (Use discount code – EARLYBIRD – when registering.  One discount code per registrant please!) Questions? E-mail the ABTA Events staff at or call 800.886.1281. Read more.

Upcoming Events
Each year, events are held throughout the country to support the patient-family and research programs of the American Brain Tumor Association. In January, February and March scheduled events include:

  • The Run for Ian – Kristen Sheffield plans to run six half marathon this year – the first on January 16, 2010 at the Robins Air Force Base in Georgia - memory of her husband, Ian. Read more.
  • Dalili Fundraiser - January 31, 2010, New Orleans, Louisiana. Read more.
  • Xavier’s Chin-Up Challenge – February 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Read more.
  • 100 Mile Century Ride in Memory of Yeshawant Patki – Feb 13, 2010, Palm Springs, California. Read more.
  • 5th Annual Sharing Hope Dinner Dance – March 6, 2010, Swedesboro, New Jersey. Read more.
Interested in hosting an ABTA Event? Call us at 1-800-886-2281



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Treatment Tab  

Research Sheds Light on Role of Stem Cells in Medulloblastoma
A new study out of England found that medulloblastomas may grow from a specific type of brain stem cell which require a “completely different approach to treatment.”  The study, appearing in the January issue of the journal Oncogene, found that two particular genes – Rb and p53 – could malfunction in these cells, allowing them to grow uncontrollably. In mice, these cells turned into medulloblastoma. Researchers believe these findings are a crucial first step in understanding the most aggressive form of this disease.  Read a news release on the research.  

Read more about medulloblastoma tumors at the ABTA Web site.

New Radiation Techniques in the Treatment of Skull Base Meningioma
New radiation techniques – including stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy (FSRT), and intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) – were developed to provide more precise, accurate radiation delivery to brain tumors resulting in less radiation exposure. A recent article, appearing in the journal Radiation Oncology, reviewed several different forms of focused radiation and results of their use in treating skull base meningiomas. Many studies are covered in this detailed literature review. Read the entire study online, free. 

Read more about meningiomas at the ABTA Web site.

Glioblastoma Discoveries:
Two Genes May Work Together to Initiate and Control Glioblastoma
Researchers have discovered two genes that when simultaneously activated may be responsible for the development of glioblastoma. Researchers say C/EPB and Stat3 are active in about 60 percent of all glioblastoma tissue samples. They appear to work together to trigger hundreds of other genes to transform brain cells into tumor tissue. When the two genes were blocked in human glioblastoma cells injected into mice, the cells stopped forming tumor cells.  Researchers believe that a combination of drugs to suppress both genes simultaneously may halt further tumor growth. Read a news release from the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at Columbia University Medical Center.  Read a free summary of the research in Nature.

Protein Link May be Key to GBM Treatment
Researchers have discovered a protein that may hold the key to treating glioblastoma. A new study found that TRPC6, a receptor channel protein found in most, if not all, body cells, promotes cell growth during central nervous system development. The protein is also “strongly expressed and functional” in brain tumor cells. The study authors found that interfering with the production of this protein also stopped the growth and spread of tumors. Read a news release from the University of Central Florida Medical School on the research. Read a free summary of the study in the journal Cancer Research.

Temozolomide plus Irinotecan Study Results
Results of a Phase II clinical trial on temozolomide (TMZ, marketed as Temodar) plus irinotecan (CPT-11) in adults with newly diagnosed glioblastoma (prior to radiotherapy) found that while the treatment response was not significantly different from that of TMZ alone, the drug combination was more toxic and poorly tolerated. The results, published in the December Journal of Neuro-Oncology, involved 42 patients receiving a maximum of three, six week cycles of TMZ and CPT-11. While there was “no significant difference” in the “objective response rate” among patients receiving TMZ and CPT-11 versus TMZ alone, adverse events were documented in 36 percent of the patients receiving both treatments, most commonly hematologic (blood related) and/or gastrointestinal. The study authors recommend further research into the use of CPT-11 in combination with a continuous lower TMZ dose, which may improve efficacy without toxicity. Read a free summary of the research.

Read more about glioblastoma at the ABTA Web site.

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tab patient care  

New Medicare Legislation Expands “Extra Help” Prescription Drug Program
Recent Medicare changes make it easier to qualify for the U.S. Social Security Administration’s “Extra Help” prescription drug program. Through Extra Help, individuals can save, on average, $4,000 a year on their Medicare prescription drug plan costs. The program changes, which take effect this month, eliminate the cash value of life insurance from counting as income or a “resource,” as well as assistance received from others for household expenses such as food, rent, mortgage or utilities. In addition, the Extra Help application process now triggers an application for Medicare Savings Programs – state programs that provide help with other Medicare costs including Medicare Part B premiums. View the online Extra Help application. View a news release on the new program changes from the U.S. Social Security Administration.

Awareness of Child Cancer Survivor Health Risks Important for Optimal Long-Term Care
Two recent studies confirm the need for greater awareness of risk factors, and appropriate treatment and preventative efforts, to ensure optimal long-term care of childhood cancer survivors. New data from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study, published in the January 7 issue of the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, found that childhood cancer survivors were nearly twice as likely as their siblings to take medication for high blood pressure, 70 percent more likely to have diabetes, and 60 percent more likely to take cholesterol medication.  A separate report appearing in the December issue of the British Medical Journal found that survivors of childhood and adolescent cancer are at “substantial risk for cardiovascular disease.”

Read a free summary of the Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention study. Read a news release on the study from the American Association for Cancer Research. Read a free summary of the British Medical Journal study. 

Medical Team Support of Patient Spiritual Needs Improves End-of-Life Well Being
In a new study of terminally ill cancer patients, researchers found that medical team support of a patient’s spiritual needs is associated with greater use of hospice care, less aggressive care and greater life quality near death. The study, published online by the Journal of Clinical Oncology, involved 343 terminally ill cancer patients at hospital and cancer centers throughout the country. Participants were interviewed about their means of coping with their illness, the degree to which their spiritual needs were met by their medical team, and their preferences regarding end-of-life treatment. As the researchers tracked each patient’s course of care, they found that patients whose spiritual needs were largely or completely supported by their medical team were more likely to transition to hospice care at the end of life. In addition, patients who relied on their religious beliefs to cope with illness were less likely to receive aggressive end-of-life medical interventions. Finally, patient spiritual need support was also associated with better end-of-life well being with scores on average being 28 percent higher among those receiving spiritual support. Read a free summary of the study. Read a news release on the research from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

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tab advocacy
ASCO Recommends Increased Funding, Patient Participation in Cancer Research
The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) makes three recommendations to “accelerate progress in clinical cancer research, and to ensure that all people with cancer have access to high-quality care.” The recommendations appear in a special article in the Dec. 10, 2010 Journal of Clinical Oncology and are as follows:

  • Increase the federal government’s investment in cancer research funding.  “Sustained and reliable funding is needed to achieve major advances,” according to ASCO which urges Congress and the President to increase funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in 2011.
  • Strengthen the nation’s clinical research system.  Few patients participate in research and physicians are not reimbursed for the full cost of trial participation. ASCO recommends that insurance providers cover clinical trial participation, increase funding to cover the cost of patient participation, and reduce regulatory burdens to conducting clinical trials.
  • Ensure patients receive high-quality care. ASCO calls on health care systems and providers to implement quality programs that ensure all patients receive high-quality care; on policymakers to support legislation that fairly covers the cost of providing high-quality, comprehensive cancer care.

Read the full article, “Clinical Cancer Advances 2009: Major Research Advances in Cancer Treatment, Prevention and Screening – A Report from the American Society of Clinical Oncology.”


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  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, 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.