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February 2010




Path to Progress 5K Run/Walk Earlybird Discount Extended
Register by February 15th for the 5th Annual Path to Progress 5K Run/Walk – Saturday, May 22, 2010 at Soldier Field. Use the discount code: EARLYBIRD. Learn more.

Register Today for the ABTA Path to Progress Marathon Team
Interested in running the Chicago Marathon on Sunday, Oct. 10, 2010 and supporting ABTA? Learn more.

ABTA Events

February 2010
Cincinnati, Ohio
Xavier’s Chin-Up Challenge

Feb. 13, 2010
Palm Springs, Calif.
100 Mile Century Ride in Memory of Yeshawant Patki

Feb. 21, 2010
Cedar Falls, Iowa
Jazzercise Knows Gray Matters 

Feb. 26, 2010
Chicago, IL
Q101 ‘No Brainer’ Night of Rock n’ Roll 

March 6, 2010
Swedesboro, New Jersey

5th Annual Sharing Hope Dinner Dance 

March 21, 2010
Atlanta, Georgia

Run for Ian

March 27, 2010
Brooklyn, New York
8th Annual Cherry Blossom Walk

April 17, 2010
Madison, Wisconsin

The Steve Bolser Memorial Joggin for the Noggin 5K  

April 18, 2010
Columbus, Ohio
9th Annual Kevin Mullin Memorial 5K Run/Walk  

Connect Through ABTA’s Pen Pal Program
Are you interested in connecting with another individual – someone who shares a similar brain tumor experience – for mutual support and friendship? If so, Connections, ABTA’s Pen Pal program, can help! Learn more.

In the months ahead, ABTA will be enhancing Connections through a new online social networking Web site! Please continue to visit the ABTA website,, for more information.

Join Us on Facebook
Join the more than 18,000 individuals who regularly follow the American Brain Tumor Association on Facebook. Check out ABTA’s Cause, Group and Fan pages. Learn more.


ABTA Joins Brain Tumor Funders’ Collaborative in Awarding Grants
The Brain Tumor Funders’ Collaborative, of which the American Brain Tumor Association is a member, awarded 11 one-year feasibility grants of $100,000 each for projects intended to accelerate the testing of different kinds of brain tumor response markers – reliable, easily monitored biological signals that can reveal if and how a tumor is responding to therapies. The Brain Tumor Funders’ Collaborative is a partnership among eight private philanthropic and advocacy organizations. The BTFC's mission includes a commitment to funding brain tumor research.
Read a news release from BTFC.

ABTA Names Outstanding Summer Medical Student
Alexander Ksendzovsky, a third-year medical student at the Chicago Medical School of Rosalind Franklin University in North Chicago, is the American Brain Tumor Association’s 2009 Lucien Rubinstein Award recipient. The work of Ksendzovsky, one of 10, 2009 American Brain Tumor Association Medical Student Summer Fellows, was deemed “outstanding” by ABTA’s distinguished Scientific Advisory Council. Ksendzovsky worked under Roberta P. Glick, M.D. at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Chicago on a vaccine that may trigger the body’s immune system to fight malignant brain tumors. Each year, ABTA offers a select group of medical students the opportunity to spend eight-to-10 weeks in a brain tumor research laboratory. Based on reports that each student is required to submit at the end of their summer internship, an outstanding student is selected. Read the ABTA news release on Alexander Ksendzovsky. Read more about ABTA’s Research Awards Program. 



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Patient Care and Support  

New Booklet Provides Legal Roadmap for Seriously Ill Patients
The “Legal Guide for the Seriously Ill: Seven Key Steps for Getting Your Affairs in Order,” is now available from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO). Written by the American Bar Association’s Commission on Law and Aging, the guide provides step-by-step instructions on planning for health care expenses; managing health, money, property and personal decisions; planning for the care of dependents; knowing your rights as a patient; and, getting your legal documents in order. The guide includes up-to-date information on regulatory and legislative changes pertaining to health care. Read the booklet. 

American College of Physicians Provides Recommendations for Improving Patient-Physician-Caregiver Relationships
More than 30 million family caregivers play a major role in the health and quality of life of individuals living with acute and chronic illnesses, according to the American College of Physicians (ACP). To optimize the important relationships between physicians, their patients, and their patients’ caregivers, the ACP has issued a position paper with recommendations for fostering communication and ultimately improving patient care. “The ethical guidance outlined in this paper is intended to heighten physician awareness of the importance and complexity of the patient-physician-caregiver relationship,” said ACP President Joseph Stubbs, MD, FACP. “It is essential for physicians to consider quality of life for both patients and caregivers.”
Read a news release from the American College of Physicians that includes a link to the position paper.

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tab research news  

Tiny Ultrasound May Aid in Removing Large Pituitary Adenomas through Nasal Passage
Many pituitary tumors can be safely removed “transsphenoidally” through the body’s facial air spaces behind the nose. Unfortunately, transsphenoidal surgery may also leave behind residual tumor masses. In a study published in the January issue of the journal Neurosurgery, researchers used a small, high-frequency ultrasound probe to obtain tumor images prior to surgery in nine patients with pituitary macroadenomas (larger than 10 mm). The images were used to confirm the best surgical approach, identify important neurovascular structures to avoid, and to better control and identify nearby normal pituitary tissue. The obtained images, according to the researchers, were "far better than what can be achieved with current clinical MRI technology.” The study authors believe the concept of intrasellar ultrasound can be further developed to become a useful tool in nasal surgery. Read a free summary of the research.
Read more about pituitary tumors at the ABTA Web site.

Medical Teams Join Forces to Genetically Map Pediatric Cancer
Two institutions are joining forces in an unprecedented effort to identify the genetic changes that give rise to some of the world’s deadliest childhood cancers, including brain tumors. The St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital – Washington University Pediatric Cancer Genome Project will work to decode genomes of both normal and cancer cells in more than 600 child cancer patients, and ultimately compare DNA differences to identify the genetic mistakes that lead to cancer. The $65 million collaboration focuses on childhood leukemia, brain tumors, and tumors of bone, muscle and other connective tissues called sarcomas. Studying the whole-genome will provide a more detailed and complete picture of all the mutations which may influence the ways the genes work, and how pediatric cancer is influenced by variations in the genome. The DNA sequencing data will help identify genetic markers to help physicians decide the best treatment options for cancer patients. Read more at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital-Washington University Pediatric Cancer Genome Project Web site. 

Read more about childhood brain tumors at the ABTA Web site.

Researchers Complete Genomic Sequencing of Brain Cancer Cell Line
For the first time, researchers have successfully completed the genomic sequence of a brain tumor cell line, a discovery that may lead to personalized treatments based on the unique biological signature of an individual tumor. Researchers also hope that the findings will aid in unveiling new molecular targets for which more effective and less toxic drugs can be developed. The sequencing revealed virtually all potentially cancer-causing chromosomal genetic deletions and mutations that may have resulted in the development of this particular tumor, a glioblastoma. The study appears in the Jan. 29, 2009 issue of PLoS Genetics. Read a news release on the study from the University of California, Los Angeles. Read a free summary of the research.

Glioblastoma (GBM) Discoveries:

Article Outlines “Groundbreaking Era” in Glioma Research and Treatment
The chief of the neuro-oncology branch at the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Center for Cancer Research is quoted in a recent article as saying “research and treatment options for gliomas are more exciting now than they have been for the last 20 years.”  In the January 25, 2010 online edition of HemOnc Today, Howard Fine, M.D., who has treated glioblastoma patients for 22 years, states: “The kinds of things we’ve seen in the clinic in the last four years blows away anything I saw in the previous 18 years of my career.”  The article states that the percentage of glioblastoma patients who survive two years from diagnosis has more than tripled in the past five years, largely due to new drugs. The article also includes quotes from other brain tumor experts who describe other recent research and treatment advances. Read the full article.

Study Finds at Least Four GBM Subtypes
New research from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) Research Network indicates that glioblastoma, the most common malignant brain tumor in adults, includes at least four distinct forms that are recognizable by their genetic signatures. The study, appearing in the Jan. 19, 2010 issue of Cancer Cell, also found that the response to aggressive chemotherapy and radiation differed by subtype. Read a news release from TCGA. Read the full study.

Scientists Show How GBM Tumors Outsmart Drugs
Researchers believe they now understand how GBM tumors evade drugs aimed at blocking a key cell signaling protein, called an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). In addition, the study authors concluded that a particular EGFR mutation is important not only to initiate the tumor, but for its continued growth and maintenance. The findings, appearing in the Jan. 18, 2010 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provide new insights into the behavior of gliomas, as well as potential new drug targets and treatment strategies. Read a news release on the study from the University of California, San Diego. Read a free summary of the research. 

Cells That Launch GBM Also Suppress the Body’s Immune Response
A new study found that cancer causing cells that launch GBM may also suppress an immune system attack on the disease. The research, appearing in the Jan. 15, 2010 issue of Clinical Cancer Research, demonstrates that this subset of tumor cells, also known as cancer stem cells, stifles the immune response in several different ways: by producing immunosuppressive cytokines that prevent T cell response; inducing T cells to become regulatory T cells; acting as brakes on the immune response; and killing T cells via apoptosis or programmed cell suicide. The good news is that researchers believe the effects of this suppression can be greatly diminished by encouraging the stem cells to differentiate into other types of brain cells.  Read a news release on the research from The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Read a free summary of the research. 

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Clinical Trial Updates  

Phase III Study of Radiation Therapy and Temozolomide for Recurrent Low-Grade Gliomas
A Phase III study of radiation therapy with or without Temozolomide for symptomatic or progressive low-grade gliomas is now recruiting participants at 82 locations throughout the United States. The study is supported by the National Cancer Institute Trials Support Unit. Read more.

Read more about clinical trials at the ABTA Web site.

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©2009 American Brain Tumor Association

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.