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January 2011

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The American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA) is proud to be funding the following brain tumor research projects recently making news: 

Gene Deletion Linked to Glioblastoma
New research found that up to one in four glioblastoma patients have a deleted gene which may contribute to tumor development, promote resistance to therapy, and considerably worsen a patient's outcome. The gene, known as NFKBIA, triggers biochemical processes similar to those resulting from a better-known aberration in epidermal growth factor receptor, or EGFR, also commonly found in glioblastoma. That both defects produce the same outcome may help explain why efforts to treat the disease by targeting only one aberration have faltered. The ABTA provided funding for the research through a Translational Research Grant and a Medical Student Summer Fellowship. Read a free summary of the study appearing in the January New England Journal of MedicineRead a news release on the research from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Blocking Multiple Signal Pathways May More Optimally Treat Brain Tumors
Combining drugs that target a variety of developmental cell signaling pathways may do a better job of killing glioblastoma brain tumors, according to a new study. The lab research, which studied glioblastoma cell lines, found that simultaneously blocking the Notch and Hedgehog pathways more optimally halted tumor growth. Most standard treatments for glioblastoma target just one pathway. The study received support from the Brain Tumor Funders Collaborative, of which ABTA is a member. Read a news release on the research from Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. Read a free summary of the study in the journal Clinical Cancer Research.
Genetic Code Deciphered for Most Common Form of Pediatric Brain Tumor
Scientists believe they have deciphered the genetic code for medulloblastoma, the most common pediatric brain tumor. In a new study, researchers found that children with medulloblastoma have between five and 10 fewer cancer-linked alterations in their genomes compared with their adult counterparts. Researchers hope to use these new findings to develop new pediatric medulloblastoma treatments. The ABTA provided a Basic Research Fellowship to one of the lead researchers on the project. The fellowship was made possible by the Emily Dorfman Foundation for Children in memory of Emily Ann Dorfman. Read a news release on the research from Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. Read a free summary of the research from the journal Science Express.

Study Challenges Metastatic Brain Tumor Incidence Rates
A new ABTA-funded study questions the actual incidence of newly diagnosed metastatic brain tumors and supports much lower estimates. The research, conducted by the Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States (CBTRUS), suggests that the documented incidence, or occurrence, of metastatic brain tumors, which has been estimated at between 150,000 to more than 500,000, may be closer to 55,000 new cases per year, a number that is far lower than some or published estimates. The findings were presented at the Society for Neuro-Oncology (SNO) 2010 Annual Meeting. The ABTA is funding a subsequent study to assist in establishing a baseline for data on the epidemiology of brain metastases. Read the ABTA news release on the research.

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Save the Date

2011 Meetings:

Health Care Professionals

Jan. 25, 2011
Spartanburg, S.C.
Gibbs Regional
Cancer Center

Patients and Families

Feb. 12, 2011
Savannah, Ga.
Nancy N. and J.C. Lewis Cancer & Research Pavillion

April 9, 2011
Milwaukee, Wis.
Columbia St. Mary ‘s Cancer Center

Marriott Lincolnshire

July 29-30, 2011
Lincolnshire, Ill.
ABTA 10th Biennial
Patient-Family Meeting

Having Fun Raising Funds:

Feb. 26, 2011
Swedesboro, N.J.
6th Annual Sharing Hope Dinner Dance

Feb. 26, 2011
Stillwater, Minn.
Judith A. Schmitt
Grey-Tie Affair

April 30, 2011
Woonsocket, R.I.
The 11th Annual
Chad Dunbar

May 7, 2011
Ypsilanti, Mich.
8th Annual
5K Run/Walk


May 14, 2011
Soldier Field
Chicago, Ill.
Path to Progress
5K Run/Walk

June 25, 2011
Seattle, Wash.
Seattle Rock 'N Roll Half Marathon

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Support. Connect

Join the hundreds of patients, family members and friends who are learning, supporting and sharing through ABTA's new social networking site, Connections. Learn more.












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Exercise Reduces Cancer-Related Fatigue
A new study found that exercise may reduce fatigue in cancer survivors. Researchers reviewed the outcomes of more than 3,200 patients with various types of cancer. Those who regularly exercised reduced their cancer related fatigue levels to a greater extent than patients who did not. Older patients, who embarked on a moderate-intensity exercise regimen based on proven theory, fared best. The study authors recommend that any exercise routine be "multi-dimensional and individualized according to health outcome and cancer type." Read a free summary of the research appearing in the January issue of the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Preserving Fertility While Battling Cancer
A new, in-depth article in this month's NCI Cancer Bulletin provides guidelines and resources for preserving fertility while receiving cancer treatments. The estimated number of cancer survivors of reproductive age in the U.S. is now approaching half a million, according to the article, "Preserving Fertility While Battling Cancer." Cancer treatments have evolved to cause fewer harmful side effects, however, radiation therapy and many chemotherapy agents may still damage fertility. According to the article, preserving fertility can and should be part of the dialogue between doctors and patients. Read the full NCI article. Read ABTA's Resources for Adolescents and Young Adults (AYA).

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Tablet Splitting: A Dangerous Practice
The practice of caregivers and health care professionals splitting treatment tablets is potentially dangerous, according to a new study appearing in the January issue of the Journal of Advanced Nursing. In the study, volunteers split tablets into 3,600 quarters or halves using a splitting device, scissors or kitchen knife. After splitting, each fragment was weighed to see how much it deviated from the theoretical, or intended, weight. Thirty-one percent of the tablet fragments deviated from their theoretical weight by more than 15 percent; and 14 percent deviated by more than 25 percent. Even with use of a splitting device, the most accurate method, error margins ranged between 8 and 21 percent. The study authors recommend that a professional splitting device be used to split tablet whenever possible. Read an article on the study appearing in The Oncology NurseRead the full study in the Journal of Advanced Nursing.

tab clinical trials

NCI Restructures, Simplifies Clinical Trial Program
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) recently announced the restructuring of its Clinical Trials Cooperative Group Program, the first steps of which will consolidate the current 10 Clinical Cooperative Groups into four adult groups and one pediatric group. This system, which currently conducts many of the nation's cancer trials, involves more than 3,100 institutions and 14,000 investigators. The ABTA participated in a teleconference last month with NCI's Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis Director Dr. James Doroshow, and representatives from the nation's health care and patient advocacy community, during which the restructuring was discussed. The consolidation, according to NCI, is aimed at optimizing recent advancements in genetic profiling and personalized medicine which require a larger number of patients and tumor specimens. In addition, Doroshow said  they will  implement guidelines to streamline the clinical trial process, and ultimately, expedite the time it takes to move a treatment from the laboratory to patient care. Read more

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Join the 2011 ABTA Running Team
No matter where you live or choose to run, or your preferred race or distance, you can support the ABTA as part of the new ABTA Running Team. You can select a particular event to participate in, or run in a race and location of your choice. Read more at

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Register Today for the Path to Progress
Join the ABTA as we run, walk and strut our way toward a brain tumor cure. Registration is now open for the 6th annual Path to Progress 5K on Saturday, May 14, 2011 at Soldier Field in Chicago. Go to for more information on creating a team and personal page, recruiting members, fundraising, making a personal donation, volunteering and sponsorship.

Ryan Salinas Named Outstanding Summer Medical Student
Ryan Salinas was selected to receive the 2010 ABTA Lucien Rubenstein Award, a distinction awarded annually to a Medical Student Summer Fellowship recipient whose work is deemed "outstanding" by ABTA's distinguished Scientific Advisory Council. Through the ABTA Medical Student Summer Fellowship program, outstanding medical students receive the opportunity to spend 8-to-10 weeks working in a brain tumor research laboratory. Salinas, a second-year medical student at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), was one of 10, 2010 summer fellows. Salinas worked under the direction of Daniel A. Lim, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in the UCSF Department of Neurological Surgery, exploring histone demethylase JMJD3 as a possible glioblastoma treatment target.  "Through the generosity of the ABTA, I have developed a great interest in the underlying biology of brain tumors and learned a variety of scientific techniques to explore this disease," said Salinas. As part of the award, he received $1,000 in addition to his $3,000 fellowship stipend. Read more about the ABTA Research program.

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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. Make a donation to the American Brain Tumor Association.

This information is provided by the American Brain Tumor Association, 2720 River Road, Des Plaines, Illinois, 60018.

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©2011 American Brain Tumor Association

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