Glioblastoma Research News for the second two months of 2022

This is the fourteenth article of the project which aims to report news (every two months) of the possible treatments for glioblastoma multiforme.
Below is the news that we considered most significant. As for the previous articles in the series, each news will be preceded by the original title with a link to the source and followed by a short comment. The criterion by which news is chosen is always to include in general only news related to research in the clinic, unless the research potential for the treatment of glioblastoma is not really significant.

Genome-Wide Expression and Anti-Proliferative Effects of Electric Field Therapy on Pediatric and Adult Brain Tumors
This study also describes the results of using an instrument other than the Optune device that was used to treat Parkinson’s and requires surgery for the implant and is always active once implanted. The article shows significant improvements in the combination of both devices with Temozolomide and also with Mebendazole in all patients, even in patients with unmethylated MGMT. Research has shown that some cancer cells are more sensitive to frequencies other than the 200kHz normally used, which opens up possible new versions that are able to vary and adapt the frequency to the profile and size of the tumor cells of the specific glioblastoma. 

Updated 2-THE-TOP Data Suggest Improvements in Progression-Free Survival, Overall Survival Compared to Matched-Control Patients from EF-14 Trial 
These are still preliminary results but they seem remarkable. Combining the Optune device with Pembrolizumab (Keytruda) and Temozolomide in adults with newly diagnosed glioblastoma achieved a median overall survival of 25.2 months compared to 15.9 in the Phase 3 ED-14 clinical trial which was the very large clinical trial that has led to the adoption of the Optune device as the standard of care in the US.

Nagoya University Researchers Develop Highly Accurate MicroRNA Urine Test That Identifies Brain Cancer in Patients with Tumors 
The Japanese University of Nagoya has developed a urine test for brain tumors that is 100% sensitive and 97% specific. This means that it reports the presence of a brain tumor 100% of the time generating a 3% of false positives which means that it can be used as a screening test in an annual check-up even if it is not known if this can do a big difference in the case of glioblastoma.

Tessa Jowell’s brain tumour zapper could give mother-of-two Nancy, 47, more precious time with her family… but the NHS said the £240,000-a-year treatment is not ‘cost effective’ 
Expected cost of therapy exceeds this value and therapy is not administered. This obviously makes little sense for a rare disease where the treatments are all very expensive. This applies to DCVAX but also to CAR-T therapies and therapies with oncolytic viruses. In the US it depends on the limits set by insurance companies. In other countries the problem occurs indirectly, i.e. the therapy may not be included in the standard of care due to the excessive cost for the national health system as it happens for example for the Optune device. The solution could be to reduce the costs of therapies in one way or another or to activate co-financing programs.

Mustang Bio Announces a Phase 1 Clinical Trial Combining MB-101 (IL13Ra2-targeted CAR T cell therapy) and MB-108 (C134 oncolytic virus)  
Each part of this combination performed well in preliminary clinical trials. The idea is that the oncolytic virus creates an inflammatory reaction around the tumor that makes CAR-T cells work better. This approach has worked for other types of cancer but has not been as successful for brain tumors. We hope that this attempt will lead to the desired results.

Black Diamond Therapeutics Announces First Patient Dosed in Phase 1 Study of BDTX-1535, a MasterKey Inhibitor of EGFR for the Treatment of Glioblastoma and Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
This trial targets EGFR mutations and the drug is able to pass the blood-brain membrane. We don’t know if this drug alone could be the solution but it certainly could be part of the drug cocktail that may be able to cure glioblastoma.

Blood-brain barrier-penetrating single CRISPR-Cas9 nanocapsules for effective and safe glioblastoma gene therapy
This method can be an important step forward. These nano capsules have not yet been tested on humans and must therefore be tested to evaluate their safety, however, they represent a possibility to modify, insert or delete tumor genes in order to make it treatable.

Nearly 100 people at this NJ school got brain tumors — a survivor demands answers
This news really hit me. At this school in New Jersey, the rate of brain tumors was 300-400 times higher than the national average. They are investigating to understand what is strange in that area. They also investigates the presence of Radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas that has been studied in the past in association with the onset of lung tumors. 

There are no other important news. A lot of research in the pre-clinical phase that we do not report by editorial choice and many articles on the premature death of Tom Parker from a glioblastoma. We hope at least that this will help raise awareness and attract more investments in the research for a possible cure. Best of luck to all those fighting glioblastoma and their loved ones!