It has been a landmark week in the world of brain tumour research campaigning as the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Brain Tumours (APPGBT) published its Inquiry Report calling for urgent action to help those affected by brain tumours.
Pathway to a Cure – Breaking Down the Barriers was launched at a Westminster reception on Tuesday held jointly with the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission. Attending MPs, researchers and clinicians welcomed the report which calls for wide-ranging changes to be made in how research is funded.
Addressing 100 attendees at the event, George Freeman, Minister of State in the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, highlighted his commitment to the cause. We were encouraged by his show of support for the report on Twitter:
As Derek Thomas MP said: “The sad fact is that brain tumour patients do not have the luxury of time.” In his role as chair of the APPGBT, Derek both instigated and led the inquiry.
Key recommendations of the report include the Government should recognise brain tumour research as a “critical priority” and ring-fence £110 million of current and new funding; the research funding system needs to be joined up from basic science through to clinical trials; and funding bodies should ring-fence specific funding for research into childhood brain tumours where survival rates for the most aggressive tumours have remained unchanged for decades.
The full report is published on our website, and you can read more about the findings and recommendations on our blog.
Experts identify link between head injuries and brain tumours. Researchers at University College London’s (UCL) Cancer Institute used mice with an inactivated tumour suppressor protein and acute head injury to demonstrate that astrocytes (non-neuronal brain cells) can revert back to their de-differentiated state, increasing the likelihood of tumours. Mature, differentiated astrocytes cannot divide and produce tumours, whereas de-differentiated ones can. The research, published in Current Biology, goes on to conclude that early-life injury primes mutated cells to dedifferentiation in later life by sensitising them to age-dependent inflammatory cues.
Impact of timing to initiate adjuvant therapy (AT) on survival of elderly glioblastoma patients using the SEER-Medicare and national cancer databases. This study, published in Scientific Reports, investigated the impact of timing of the start of AT on overall survival using two national-scale datasets covering elderly GBM populations in the United States. They concluded that initiating AT with a modest delay (27–37 days) or a longer delay (≥ 38 days) after craniotomy may be the preferred timing in the elderly GBM population.
FDA Okays Phase 2 study of Azeliragon for patients with glioblastoma (GBM) Azeliragon is an orally administered, once-a-day pill, which is a small molecule antagonist (impedes normal function) of the receptor for advanced glycation end products, RAGE. It inhibits interactions of RAGE with certain chemicals, which may inhibit GBM and overcome its resistance to effective treatment. The drug has been shown to be well tolerated in a trial with Alzheimer’s patients.
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