Can Zika Be Used To Fight Glioblastoma Brain Tumors?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Milan G. Chheda, MD Assistant Professor  Department of Medicine  Oncology Division  Molecular Oncology  Department of Neurology Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

Dr. Chheda

Milan G. Chheda, MD
Assistant Professor
Department of Medicine
Oncology Division
Molecular Oncology
Department of Neurology
Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Glioblastoma is an extremely aggressive brain tumor. Most patients die in less than two years. A longstanding challenge has been killing tumor cells that are inherently resistant to our current therapies (radiation and chemotherapy). These cells, called cancer stem cells, are extremely hardy. A longstanding dream of oncologists has been to devise a way to find them and kill them. The public health epidemic in 2015 made Zhe Zhu, post-doctoral fellow in Jeremy Rich’s lab, wonder whether Zika virus could work on cancer stem cells, that share properties with stem cells in fetal brain. Zika virus doesn’t cause significant problems in adults.

We took a lesson from nature and tested Zika virus.

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Targeting CD44s May Make Glioblastoma More Sensitive To Clinical Treatment

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Chonghui Cheng, M.D., Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Molecular & Human Genetics Lester & Sue Smith Breast Center Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX77030

Dr. Cheng

Chonghui Cheng, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Molecular & Human Genetics
Lester & Sue Smith Breast Center
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, TX77030

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Understanding the mechanisms that give cancer cells the ability to survive and grow opens the possibility of developing improved treatments to control or cure disease. In the case of glioblastoma multiforme, the deadliest type of brain cancer, abnormal EGFR signaling is frequently observed.

Treatment with the EGFR inhibitor erlotinib attempts to kill cancer cells. However, the clinical benefit of treatment with this and other EGFR inhibitors has been limited by the development of drug resistance.

Scientists at Baylor College of Medicine discovered that the molecule CD44s seems to give cancer cells a survival advantage. Eliminating this advantage by reducing the amount of CD44s resulted in cancer cells being more sensitive to the deadly effects of the drug erlotinib.

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Stereotactic Radiation Therapy Achieves Superior Results in Some Brain Tumors

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Professor Rakesh Jalali, MD Professor of Radiation Oncology President, Indian Society of Neuro-Oncology Tata Memorial Parel, Mumbai India

Dr. Jalali

Professor Rakesh Jalali, MD
Professor of Radiation Oncology
President, Indian Society of Neuro-Oncology
Tata Memorial
Parel, Mumbai India 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Randomized controlled trials to test the efficacy of radiotherapy techniques are challenging to perform. High-precision conformal techniques such as stereotactic radiosurgery/radiotherapy, intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) and particle therapy, etc have been incorporated into routine clinical practice including for brain tumors without always being supported by level-1 evidence.

We therefore conducted a prospective, randomized, controlled trial of stereotactic conformal radiotherapy compared to conventional radiotherapy in young patients with residual/progressive bening and low grade brain tumors requiring radiotherapy for optimal disease control.

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Targeted Radiosurgery Beats Whole Brain Radiation For Brain Tumor Survival

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

N. Scott Litofsky, M.D. Chief of the Division of Neurological Surgery University of Missouri School of Medicine

Dr. N. Scott Litofsky,

N. Scott Litofsky, M.D.
Chief of the Division of Neurological Surgery
University of Missouri School of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Radiosurgery is being used more often for treatment of brain metastases to avoid potential side effects of whole-brain radiation, such as cognition and mobility impairment. After surgical resection of a brain metastases, some radiation treatment is generally needed to control brain disease. Few studies have directly compared efficacy of tumor control between surgery followed by whole-brain radiation and surgery followed by radiosurgery.

Our objective was to compare outcomes in two groups of patients – one whose brain metastasis was treated with surgery followed by whole-brain radiation and one whose surgery was followed by radiosurgery to the post-operative tumor bed.

We found that tumor control was similar for both groups, with survival actually better in the radiosurgery group. The complications of treatment were similar.

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Mibefradil Dihydrochoride with Hypofractionated Radiation for Recurrent Glioblastoma

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Nataniel Lester-Coll, MD Chief Resident in Radiation Oncology at Yale New Haven, Connecticut

Dr. Nataniel Lester-Coll

Nataniel Lester-Coll, MD
Chief Resident in Radiation Oncology at Yale
New Haven, Connecticut 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Recurrent Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) has limited treatment options and the prognosis is poor. Mibefradil diydrochloride was identified using a high-throughput compound screen for DNA double stranded break repair inhibitors. Mibefradil was found to radiosensitize GBM tumor cells in vitro and in vivo. Based on these findings, we sought to determine the maximum tolerated dose of mibefradil and radiation therapy in a Phase I recurrent GBM study. Eligible patients with recurrent  Glioblastoma Multiforme received Mibefradil over a 17 day period, with hypofractionated radiation (600 cGy x 5 fractions). There are 18 patients currently enrolled who have completed treatment. Thus far, there is no clear evidence of radionecrosis. A final dose level of 200 mg/day was reached as the maximum tolerated dose. The drug was very well tolerated at this dose. We saw intriguing evidence of enhanced local control in selected cases. Patients enrolled in a translational substudy who received Mibefradil prior to surgery were found to have adequate levels of Mibefradil in resected brain tumor tissue.

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Computer Bests Neuroradiologists in Distinguishing Tumor Recurrence From Radiation Necrosis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Pallavi Tiwari PhD Assistant Professor biomedical engineering Case Western Reserve University

Dr. Pallavi Tiwari

Dr. Pallavi Tiwari PhD
Assistant Professor biomedical engineering
Case Western Reserve University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: One of the biggest challenges in neuro-oncology currently is distinguishing radionecrosis, a side-effect of aggressive radiation, from tumor recurrence on imaging. Surgical intervention is the only means of definitive diagnosis, but suffers from considerable morbidity and mortality. The treatments for radionecrosis and cancer recurrence are very different. Early identification of the two conditions can help speed prognosis, therapy, and improve patient outcomes.

The purpose of this feasibility study was to evaluate the role of machine learning algorithms along with computer extracted texture features, also known as radiomic features, in distinguishing radionecrosis and tumor recurrence on routine MRI scans (T1w, T2w, FLAIR). The radiomic algorithms were trained on 43 studies from our local collaborating institution – University Hospitals Case Medical Center, and tested on 15 studies at a collaborating institution, University of Texas Southwest Medical Center. We further compared the performance of the radiomic techniques with two expert readers.

Our results demonstrated that radiomic features can identify subtle differences in quantitative measurements of tumor heterogeneity on routine MRIs, that are not visually appreciable to human readers. Of the 15 test studies, the radiomics algorithm could identify 12 of 15 correctly, while expert 1 could identify 7 of 15, and expert 2, 8 of 15.

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Insurance Status Affects Glioblastoma Survival

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Wuyang Yang, M.D., M.S. Research Fellow Department of Neurosurgery Johns Hopkins Hospital Baltimore, MD 21287

Dr. Wuyang Yang

Wuyang Yang, M.D., M.S.
Research Fellow
Department of Neurosurgery
Johns Hopkins Hospital
Baltimore, MD 21287

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The treatment for glioblastoma (GBM) patients involves a combined approach of surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Despite advancement in the therapeutic approaches for GBM, differing socioeconomic status result in disparities in health-care access, and may superimpose a significant impact on survival of glioblastoma patients. Insurance status is an indirect indicator of overall socioeconomic status of a patient, and has been shown to correlate with survival of patients with malignant tumor in other parts of the body. We conducted the first study to determine a relationship between different types of insurance and survival of GBM patients.

In our study of 13,665 cases of GBM patients, we found that non-Medicaid insured patients have a significant survival benefit over uninsured and even Medicaid insured patients. This is the first time a study describes this relationship in glioblastoma patients, and also the first to compare and quantify the likelihood of poor prognosis between different insurance categories. A difference in insurance coverage was also uncovered, and patients with insurance were more likely to be older, female, white, and married. In addition, we found that younger, female, married patients with smaller tumor size survive longer than other patients, which confirmed findings in existing literature.

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Optune as Standard Treatment Option for Newly Diagnosed Glioblastoma

Novocure is the developer of Optune, which uses Tumor Treating Fields to treat cancer. Tumor Treating Fields, or TTFields, are low intensity, alternating electric fields within the intermediate frequency range. TTFields disrupt cell division through physical interactions with key molecules during mitosis. This non-invasive treatment targets solid tumors.

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) has recommended Optune as a standard treatment option for newly diagnosed glioblastoma (GBM) in its Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) for Central Nervous System Cancers. NCCN panel members designated Optune together with temozolomide as a category 2A treatment for newly diagnosed GBM for patients with good performance status, indicating uniform consensus among panel members to add Optune to the guidelines for newly diagnosed GBM. Optune has been included in the NCCN Guidelines as a category 2B treatment option for recurrent GBM since 2015. The recommendation follows the publication of Novocure’s EF-14 phase 3 pivotal trial data in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in December, 2015. The EF-14 phase 3 pivotal trial demonstrated that adding TTFields to maintenance temozolomide chemotherapy significantly prolonged progression-free and overall survival in newly diagnosed GBM.
Glioblastoma, also called glioblastoma multiforme, or GBM, is a type of primary brain cancer. Approximately 12,500 GBM tumors, or tumors that may transform into GBM, are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. GBM is the most common type of primary brain cancer in adults. It is more likely to appear in older adults and to affect men than women. GBM is one of the deadliest forms of cancer, with patients typically not surviving beyond 15 months after diagnosis.

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Soluble Aspirin May Be Able To Cross Blood-Brain Barrier To Attack Glioblastomas

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Kieran Breen PhD Director of Research, Brain Tumour Research University of Portsmouth, UK

Dr. Kieran Breen

Dr Kieran Breen PhD
Director of Research, Brain Tumour Research
University of Portsmouth, UK

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: There is evidence that aspirin (acetyl salicylic acid) can be toxic to brain tumour cells. However, its existing preparations cannot readily enter the brain because the drug is a suspension rather than being completely soluble. Furthermore, there can be significant side effects associated with the existing form of the drug including gastric bleeding. The object of this research was to develop a new formulation of aspirin which is truly soluble. When combined with two other compounds, the drug enters the brain and can therefore target the tumour cells. This study also showed that aspirin can kill tumour cells without causing any damage to the normal nerve cells. Continue reading

Meningioma Risk Lower In Patients With High Blood Sugar and Diabetes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Judith Schwartzbaum PhD Associate professor of epidemiology Ohio State's Comprehensive Cancer Center

Dr. Judith Schwartzbaum

Dr. Judith Schwartzbaum PhD
Associate professor of epidemiology
Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Meningioma is a slow-growing brain tumor that is associated with obesity. To further understand this risk we examined records of blood sugar levels within approximately 15 years before tumor diagnosis comparing blood sugar levels of people who developed meningioma to those in people who did not.

MedicalResearch.com:What are the main findings?

Response: To our surprise we found that risk of this tumor was lower in people with high levels of blood sugar and diabetes.

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