I was re-reading last year’s editorial article (Editorial Glioblastoma.IT). The candle in memory of Emanuele is always lit. This candle therefore continues to be a symbol, a symbol of hope for all glioblastoma multiforme glioblastoma multiforme patients and their loved ones.
I was thinking back to what we did in 2021. The first thing I noticed is that at the end of 2020 the number of unique visitors to the site, as also reported in the editorial at that time, was 30,000. Today we are at over 102,000, a growth which I would call exponential. Unfortunately this fills me with joy on the one hand and on the other it means that many people still get sick with glioblastoma.
We know that glioblastoma is the most common primary malignant brain tumor. Overall, the prognosis for patients with this disease is poor, with a median survival of less than 2 years. There is a slight predominance in males and the incidence increases with age, although unfortunately young people are also increasingly affected. The standard approach to therapy in the context of a new diagnosis includes surgery followed by concomitant radiotherapy with temozolomide and additional adjuvant temozolomide cycles. In some countries, and Italy is not among these, it is now possible to use the Optune device which provides alternating low intensity electric fields and can be used in parallel with the adjuvant temozolomide. On recurrence, there is no standard of care; however, surgery, radiotherapy, and systemic chemotherapy with bevacizumab or regorafenib are all possible options, depending on the patient’s circumstances and condition. Supportive, integrative and palliative care remain very important throughout the course of the disease. The recently revised classification of glioblastoma, based on the molecular profile, in particular on the mutation status of the isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH), is the result of a better understanding of the pathogenesis underlying the disease. There is a clear need for better treatment options and there have been substantial efforts to explore immunotherapy and precision oncology approaches. Unlike other solid tumors, however, biological factors, such as the blood-brain barrier, the specific characteristics of the tumor (which is multiform and therefore different from patient to patient and can also be different over time and in different areas for the same patient) and the immune microenvironment represent significant challenges in the development of new therapies. Innovative clinical trial projects are needed with strategies that exploit specific biomarkers to ultimately improve the outcome of this disease and finally find a cure.
This year glioblastoma.it became a voluntary association called “Glioblastoma.IT ODV” and we started organizing videoconferences with the participation of distinguished specialists and a lively question and answer session in which specialists answering the questions of patients and caregivers. These conferences have been followed globally by more than 3000 people. The project that provides for the publication every two months of an article summarizing the latest research news continues to attract considerable interest.
Thanks to your generosity, it was possible to raise around € 20,000 which will go to finance the CUSP9v3 phase 2 clinical trial. We are also evaluating the possibility of using these funds to co-finance a compassionate use of the same treatment for some patients awaiting the start of the trial. Currently, the laws in force allow the use of experimental therapies such as this one, only in the event of failure of the first-line therapies, which means that they cannot be applied to new diagnoses but only when there is a recurrence.
The hope for next year is to do at least what we have done this year, continuing to organize events with specialists (the next is scheduled for January 25th), to write articles to continue to inform you and raise awareness on the importance of finding more effective treatments for this pathology. So we just have to thank you for following us with so much interest during 2021 and wish you a happy and peaceful 2022!