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July 2011


Join Us at the Patient-Family Connections Meeting & Retreat, July 29-30
It's not too late to register for an extraordinary two-day event that brings together patients, survivors, families, friends and healthcare professionals to hear the latest on brain tumor research, treatment and quality of life issues. Topics include:

  • Treatment advances: what are the most promising new therapies for brain tumors?
  • When your child has a brain tumor: treatment updates and strategies for educating your school about your child’s illness
  • Managing your finances and making ends meet when a brain tumor is consuming all of your energy
  • Tips for managing stress when a loved one has a chronic illness
  • Continuum of care and quality of life workshops

On-site registration for the 2011 American Brain Tumor Association Patient-Family Connections Meeting & Retreat  begins Friday morning, July 29, at the Lincolnshire Marriott. The resort, located just north of Chicago, is a perfect venue for learning, relaxing and connecting with others coping with a brain tumor diagnosis. Call 1.800.886.1281 for more information.

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Discover Community Support with ABTA Connections
The American Brain Tumor Association is now offering an enhanced Connections Support Community that links patients, families, friends, caregivers and healthcare professionals with each other, as well as to resources and wellness support. The online community was created because we all need a safe place to discuss health, we can help each other, and together we are better. The new site is offered in conjunction with Inspire. To date, more than 250 individuals have already joined the new site.

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Exercise Appears to Extend Survival Following Brain Tumor Diagnosis
Brain tumor patients who are able to exercise live significantly longer than those who either cannot, or choose not to, according to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The research involved 243 patients with advanced recurrent gliomas. Those who reported participating in regular, brisk exercise (the equivalent of an energetic walk five days a week for 30 minutes) had significantly prolonged survival, living a median of 21.84 months — 64% longer than patients who did not exercise.

Cognitive, But Not Physical, Impairments May Decrease Meningioma Life Quality
A new study found that most individuals living with a low-grade meningioma brain tumor reported life quality comparable to that of the general population, despite some limitations due to physical problems. However, patients who reported cognitive impairments (difficulties with memory and other thought processes), and/or taking prescribed anti-epilepsy medication — regardless of whether or not they suffered seizures — reported significantly lower life quality. In the July issue of Neurosurgery, the authors recommend additional research to explore how surgery and radiotherapy may impact meningioma patients.

Study Reveals Three Distinct Types of Adult Medulloblastoma
New research appearing in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that adult medulloblastomas differ considerably from pediatric medulloblastomas. Researchers looked at the molecular make-up of 28 adult medulloblastomas and found three subtypes, each with distinct demographics, genetics and outcomes. In addition, more than half of the tumors had irregular activation of the sonic hedgehog (SHH) pathway. The SHH pathway plays a role in both normal and diseased cell growth in adults. The SHH pathway is believed to be linked to promoting various cancers in adults, including bladder, breast, and colorectal cancer as well as diseases of the brain and central nervous system.
The authors recommend additional research to further understand what drives different tumor mutations and their impact on treatment. Earlier this year, a separate study identified four subtypes of childhood medulloblastoma.

Combined Therapy May Ease Painful Swelling Associated With Brain Tumor
When cancer cells infiltrate the spaces within the brain, the collection of cells may prevent the flow and absorption of spinal fluid causing increased pressure, fluid accumulation and pain. Approximately 5% to 10% of primary and metastatic brain tumor patients suffer from this neurological complication, which can cause headaches, seizures, confusion, difficulty swallowing and visual disturbances. In a new study, researchers successfully inserted an externally operated "off-on" valve — an Ommaya (OAM-eye-ah) reservoir (a small plastic device used to carry treatment directly to fluid in the brain and spinal cord) — and a shunt to deliver chemotherapy directly to the brain surface while also draining excess fluid to the abdomen, through a thin internal catheter.

Chinese Herb May Block Brain Tumor Growth
The active ingredient in a traditional Chinese herbal remedy may help treat aggressive brain tumors, according to a new study appearing online in Cancer Research. Researchers tested a plant compound called indirubin (IN-duh-roo-bun ) in glioblastoma cells in two studies of mice. Indirubin comes from the Indigo plant, the same plant used to make blue dye. In both studies, the indirubin blocked the spread of the glioblastoma cells to other areas of the brain and stopped the movement of endothelial (en doh THEE lea uhl) cells. Endothelial cells, which are found in the lining of blood vessels, prompt blood vessel growth. This finding is significant, because tumor cells require their own blood supply.

Study Identifies Potential Origin of Glioblastoma
Researchers believe they may have isolated the cells that lead to malignant glioma. These cells are called oligodendrocyte (OL ig oh DEN druh site) precursor cells or OPCs. OPCs comprise 5% to 8% of all glial cells — the cells that are responsible for supporting and protecting nerve cells (neurons) in the brain. OPCs were found in all primary and metastatic tumors. In this study, OPCs were the first cells shown to grow in abnormal patterns in the development of a glioma. They also increase the growth of blood vessels. The new study appears in the July 7 issue of Cell.

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Find a Clinical Trial Through TrialConnect™
When you receive a brain tumor diagnosis, you want and deserve to know about all available treatment options. To help you in this search, the American Brain Tumor Association has partnered with EmergingMed to offer a free, confidential, personalized service that matches your brain tumor type and treatment history with an appropriate clinical trial. TrialConnect™ is offered in English and Spanish.  


Headquartered in Chicago, the American Brain Tumor Association was the first national organization committed to funding brain tumor research and providing compassionate outreach to patients and caregivers coping with a brain tumor diagnosis. For nearly 40 years, the association has funded researchers working toward breakthroughs in brain tumor diagnosis and treatment. Through its dedicated team of licensed healthcare professionals, the ABTA provides trusted resources for patients, families, and medical professionals. The American Brain Tumor Association is a federally registered 501(c)3 charity that consistently earns high marks from the nation’s charity ranking organizations. Make a donation to the American Brain Tumor Association.

This information is provided by the American Brain Tumor Association, 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Suite 550, Chicago, Illinois, 60631.

For more information on the American Brain Tumor Association, call toll-free: 1.800.886.ABTA (2282), write, or visit:


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©2011 American Brain Tumor Association

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July 29-30
Lincolnshire, IL
Connections Patient-Family Meeting & Retreat

July 30, 2011

Macomb Township, MI
14th Annual Paul Brazen Golf Outing

Aug. 6, 2011
Bucks County, PA
JAG Tube Float


Aug. 6, 2011
Joliet, IL
Wheels for a Cause Car & Bike Show

Aug. 7, 2011
Grafton, WI
Brain-A-Roo 2

Aug. 12, 2011
Dover, NH
Beats for Brains

Aug. 13, 2011
Country Club Hills, IL
2nd Annual Mary E. Smith Brain Tumor Awareness Walk

Aug. 14, 2011
Fire Island, NY
5th Annual "Run for Rose"

Aug. 20, 2011
Joliet, IL
2nd Annual Kandy's 5K Walk

Aug. 21, 2011

Ponchatoula, LA
Benefit Concert for Sjonia Ishee

Aug. 27, 2011

Vancouver, WA
2nd Annual Cruising for Cure

Sept. 10, 2011

Waltham, MA
JB 5K Blastoff

Sept. 10, 2011
St. Louis, MO
14th Annual St. Louis Fall Festival

Sept. 24, 2011
Des Moines, IA
The Brain Tumor Walk, For the Journey of Hope and Change

Sept. 24, 2011
Peoria, IL
9th Annual Mark Linder Walk for the Mind

Sept. 26, 2011
Rocky River, OH
Eldon Blake Memorial Walk/Run

Oct. 9, 2011
Chicago, IL
Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Interested in hosting an ABTA event? Contact us at

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.