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August 2010


Save the Date:
Sept. 11, 2010
St. Louis, Mo.
St. Louis Fall Festival

Other Upcoming August-September ABTA Events:

July 30-August 15, 2010
Chicago to Colorado
Bike to the Pike

Aug. 14, 2010
Country Club Hills, Ill.
Mary E. Smith Brain Tumor Awareness Walk

Aug. 14, 2010
New Orleans, La.
Strike Out Brain Tumors

Aug. 15, 2010
Allentown, Pa.
Steps Toward a Cure

Aug. 21, 2010
Joliet, Ill.
Joliet Walk

Aug. 21, 2010
Vernon Hills, Ill.
11th Annual Vernon Hills Golf Outing

Aug. 28, 2010
Smyrna, Delaware to Deposit, Md.
Friends Ride 2 Help

Sept. 4, 2010
Ocean City, NJ
10th Annual Surf for a Cure Longboard Contest

Sept. 11, 2010
Fargo, ND
2nd Annual Pray for Gray Silent Auction and Dinner

Sept. 11, 2010
Bayonne, N.J.
7th Annual Walk for Elvira

Sept. 11, 2010
Grayslake, Ill.
13th Annual Paul Fabbri Golf Outing

Sept. 12, 2010
Washington, D.C.
Friends Helping Friends

Sept. 12-25, 2010
Virtual Fundraiser on Second Life

Wear Gray for a Day

Sept. 18, 2010
Waltham, Mass.
Glio-Blastoff 5K Road Race & Walk

Sept. 18. 2010
Asbury Park, N.J.
Flo’s Chili Cook-off Competition

Sept. 18, 2010
Torrington, Conn.
Rolling for Research Bowling Tournament 

Sept. 18, 2010
Minneapolis, Minn.
7th Annual Humor to Fight the Tumor

Sept. 25, 2010
Peoria, Ill.
8th Annual Mark Linder Walk for the Mind 

Sept. 26, 2010
Rocky River, Ohio

Eldon Blake Memorial

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New Stereotactic Radiosurgery Brochure Available
Stereotactic radiosurgery, or SRS, is a special form of radiation that is not surgery. Stereotactic radiosurgery delivers precisely focused, high dose X-ray beams to a small, localized area of the brain. The newly revised American Brain Tumor Association brochure explains SRS, provides the latest information on different types of SRS equipment, describes a typical treatment session, and outlines possible side effects. Read the new brochure. Or, contact ABTA for a free copy of Stereotactic Radiosurgery at 1-800-886-2282 or

Applicants Sought for International Outreach Research Fellowship
The Society for NeuroOncology (SNO), with financial support from the American Brain Tumor Association and EMD Serono, is seeking applicants living outside of North America for a one-year fellowship at a pediatric or adult neuro-oncology research laboratory or clinic in the U.S. or Canada. Learn more.

Interested in hosting an ABTA Event?
Call us at 1.800.886.1281

Patient Care and Support

Headaches and Brain Tumors
While headaches are not a definitive symptom of brain tumors, they can occur following brain tumor surgery and treatment and should be given necessary attention to ensure optimal life quality for survivors, according to a review article in the August journal Neurosurgery. Headaches are a sole symptom of brain tumors in 10 percent of patients, and reported as one of multiple symptoms in 60 percent of patients. Surgery, radiotherapy and some types of chemotherapy can cause head pain after diagnosis (temozolomide, for example, causes headaches in up to 25 percent of patients). Steroids can often ease brain swelling and pain caused by radiotherapy, however, further research is needed to determine which patients are most at risk of treatment-induced headaches, and the most effective ways to prevent and minimize head pain. Read a free summary of the article.

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tab research news

New NCI Director Says “No Better Time Exists” for Cancer Research
New National Cancer Institute Director Harold Varmus, M.D. says the present-day science climate is the best ever in more than 40 years for improving cancer prevention, diagnostics and treatment. During a recent NCI Town Hall meeting, Dr. Varmus said that recent advancements in genomics, information technology, functional biology, and other scientific disciplines, are providing a portrait of cancer that can help lead to rapid discoveries and improvements in treatment and care. Dr. Varmus was sworn in to his new position on July 12, 2010. See a Web cast of the July 2010 NCI Town Hall meeting . Read an NCI Cancer Bulletin article on Dr. Varmus.

Gamma Knife Radiosurgery Successfully Controls Meningioma Growth
In a new study, 94 percent of benign meningioma patients achieved "tumor control" following post-surgical Gamma Knife Radiosurgery (GKRS). The sudy involved more than 100 patients receiving 136 GKRS treatments for benign intracranial meningiomas between 1996 and 2004. Tumors did not grow in 68 percent of patients, and became smaller in 26 percent. Tumor progression, however, did occur at a mean time of 7.5 years after GKRS, reinforcing the need for long-term follow-up care despite initial tumor control. Read a free summary of the research in the August 2010 journal Neurosurgery.

New Test May Aid Decisions About Surgery for Recurrent Brain Tumor
According to a new study, three factors may determine whether or not a patient with a recurring brain tumor will benefit from additional surgery: how well the patient performs day-to-day tasks, the volume of the tumor, and whether the tumor is in or near a critical region of the brain. The test, called the NIH Recurrent GBM Scale, gives patients a total score of 0 to 3 points. Patients with a score of "0" have a relatively "good" chance of benefitting from additional surgery, and those with 1 to 2 points, an “intermediate” chance. Patients scoring 1 point are not likely to benefit from surgery. 
Read a free summary of the study appearing in the July 19, 2010 Journal of Clinical OncologyRead an article on the new test appearing in the July 27, 2010 NCI Cancer Bulletin.

Radiation Technology May Improve Pediatric Brain Tumor Outcome
Children with brain tumors who undergo radiation therapy may benefit from a technique known as “intensity modulated arc therapy,” or IMAT.  The technique rotates X-rays continuously around a patient, in any direction, improving treatment effectiveness.
Read a news release on IMAT from the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM).

Irradiating Brain Stem Cells May Double GBM Survival
Glioblastoma patients receiving high doses of radiation at the portion of the brain harboring neural stem cells (known as the stem cell niche) doubled progression-free survival. The results support the evidence that many, if not all, cancers may spring from stem cells that normally repair damage to the body but somehow mutate and transform into cancer. The study, published recently in the online edition of the journal BMC Cancer, could result in changes to the way radiation therapy is given to GBM patients. 
Read a news release on the research from the University of California, Los Angeles’ Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center

Arsenic Shows Promise as Medulloblastoma Treatment
The notorious poison arsenic may be an effective treatment against medulloblastoma brain tumors, according to a recent study published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Researchers used low levels of arsenic trioxide in cultured human and mouse cells and in laboratory mice with a medulloblastoma. Researchers believe that arsenic inhibits the critical cellular signaling cascade called the Hedgehog pathway, known to be overactive in medulloblastoma tumors. 
Read a news release on the research from the Stanford University School of Medicine. Read the full study

“Designer Protein” Targets Brain Tumor Cells
Researchers say they’ve identified a way to target and destroy glioblastoma cells without harming healthy cells. According to a new study appearing in a recent issue of the journal Genes & Cancer, researchers have developed what they’re calling a “designer protein,” a single-chain protein that is able to seek out and make its way into specific cells, such as cancer cells, and destroy them without harming neighboring tissue. Further research is needed before the research can be tested on actual patients.
Read a news release on the new research from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. Read a free summary of the research. 

Partial Removal of Malignant Meningioma Tumors May be More Advantageous than Total/Gross Resection
Surgery is an effective treatment for grade III meningiomas at diagnosis, and subsequently following tumor regrowth, according to a new study in the August Journal of Neurosurgery. However, "agressive attempts" at gross total resection (100 percent tumor removal) may provide neurological risks while not significantly improving or extending survival. In the study, researchers reviewed outcomes of 63 grade III meningioma pateints. The analysis showed a marked survival benefit from repeat operations. While patients treated with total resection survived as long as patients receiving near total resection (NTR), they faced greater risk of neurological problems, some of them fatal.
Read the full study.

tab clinical trials

Phase I and I/II Clinical Trial Results on DCVax Immune Therapy:
33 Percent of Patients Reached 4-Year Survival; 27 Percent, Six-Year

Recently released data from phase I and phase I/II clinical trial results for the DCVax immune therapy for newly diagnosed glioblastoma patients, showed that 33 percent of participating patients reached 4-year survival with treatment following surgery, and 27 percent reached or exceeded 6-year survival. Median survival among participants enrolled in the trial was 3 years, compared to 14.6 months for patients receiving current standard of care treatment – surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. The DCVax-Brain treatment is a personalized vaccine, made up of a patient's own dendritic cells, designed to stimulate a patient’s immune system to fight cancer. 
Read a news release on the clinical trial results from Northwest Biotherapeutics, Inc. Read more information on the DCVax clinical trial, which is active, but not recruiting.

Phase I/II Trial of Toca 511 for Recurrent GBM
A phase I/II multi-center, clinical trial of the safety and tolerability of increasing, single doses of Toca 511, a retrovirus administered transcranially to recurrent GBM patients following surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy with temozolomide, is now recruiting.
Read more about criteria, study sites, location and contact information. Read the NCI Clinical Trials description of the study.

Read about or find clinical trials at ABTA's Web site.

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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©2010 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.