Hormone risk, Optune and the need for UK based research-Research update

3 min read

The results of a French study are that women taking the synthetic progestogen cyproterone acetate were at increased risk for brain tumours. The analysis of data on over 250,000 girls and women who filled a prescription for cyproterone acetate showed that these individuals had a six-fold higher risk for developing intracranial meningiomas compared with women not using the hormone. Although absolute risk remains low, this product is not currently approved in U.S.

The Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Centre and The NeuroMedical Centre have entered into a research agreement, beginning with a clinical trial testing a treatment which will involve newly diagnosed patients with glioblastoma. The new study, sponsored by Novocure and called Trident, will test the potential survival benefit of Optune, a wearable, portable, treatment with electrical fields, used simultaneously with radiation therapy. All trials opened through the partnership will be made available to patients throughout the Mary Bird Perkins network in southeast Louisiana, southwest Mississippi and beyond. Optune is not available on the NHS and Brain Tumour Research have spoken to Novocure who have confirmed that they do not currently have plans to develop a market in the UK.

At Brain Tumour Research we are currently hearing many stories of brain tumour patients needing to travel abroad to access treatments that the NHS is unable to offer – they are also having to self-finance their care, frequently through platforms such as GoFundMe. As an example please have a look at this video where Amani speaks out about her diagnosis & the #BrainTumourPetition, and for more information please read Amani’s story.

The need for UK based, adequately funded discovery science that will translate to clinical trials in UK hospitals has never been greater so please sign and share the #braintumourpetition which has over 70,000 signatures but needs 30,000 in the next month.

It is what everyone receiving these updates wants so let’s support each other and work together to make it happen.

Finally, this week here’s a chance to read an interview with Fred “Rusty” Gage who began his career in neuroscience more than four decades ago. It is fascinating stuff as Gage is still trying to figure out how adults can continue to make new brain cells and keep their brains healthier and resistant to disease. He supports broader work in novel approaches to treating cancer, how the properties in the food we eat shape our brains, the effect of isolation on brain functioning, and plant biology and climate change.

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