Glioblastoma Research News in the Fifth Two Months of 2022

This is the seventeenth article of the project which aims to collect possible (every two months) the news of research on 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 phase, unless the research potential for the treatment of glioblastoma is really significant.

A prospective cohort study of SITOIGANAP for the treatment of glioblastoma when administered in combination with granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor / cyclophosphamide / bevacizumab / nivolumab or granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor / cyclophosphamide / bevacizumab / pembrolizumab patients had passed previous surgical treatment. Resection, radiation and temozolomide
The results of this vaccine therapy are remarkable. The study reports the treatment on 21 patients with recurrent glioblastoma who normally have an average survival of 8 months according to historical data. With this treatment, the median survival is 19.6 months, with 25% of patients still alive at the end of the trial, i.e. at 40 months. The protocol had minimal side effects. I like this approach because as you can also see from the title it is a cocktail of treatments: patients received SITOIGANAP in 28-day cycles in combination with the granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF), cyclophosphamide, bevacizumab and a anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody (nivolumab or pembrolizumab).

Radiotherapy plus temozolomide with or without nimotuzumab against newly diagnosed EGFR-positive glioblastoma: a retrospective cohort study
Nimotuzumab is a monoclonal antibody that counteracts EGFR. It is considered experimental in the US but approved in some countries. The trial involved 56 newly diagnosed patients divided into two groups: Radiotherapies and Temodar and Radiotherapy, Temodar and Nimotuzumab. Adding Nimotuzumab to Radiotherapy and Temodar resulted in significant improvements in survival. For all patients with Glioblastoma it increased survival by 11 months. For patients with unmethylated MGMT the results were even better: overall survival was 19.3 months versus only 6.7 months without nimotuzumab. Here, too, you will notice that the combined use of drugs allows for significant improvements.

The biosensor detects brain tumors with less than one drop of blood
This biosensors is able to take very small amounts of tumor derived material from the tumor proteins such as nucleic acids, and lipids that pass the blood-brain membrane and enter the circulation starting from a drop of blood to the patient. The sensor is able to work using a method known as Raman spectroscopy that generates molecular profiles, the molecular signature, from each sample. The researchers then analyzed the profiles with a DEEP artificial neural network to find evidence of a brain tumor, define type and even predict location. In fact, this test also tells us if the tumor is primary or metastatic with an accuracy ranging from 96% to 100%. Perhaps in this method it could also allow us to trace the evolution of the tumor and tell us if the treatments are effective or if there are recurrences as well as allowing an early diagnosis that allow to improve the effectiveness of the treatments.

Determinants of the field use of tumor treatment in patients with primary glioblastoma: a single institutional experience
This is a very informative article with the results of a single hospital where the Optune device is offered as standard treatment to all patients. Patients can be members of three groups: those who reject the device, those who accept it but have low compliance (adherence to prescriptions), and those who accept and follow the prescriptions. There are no apparent reasons for these differences and the groups are balanced in age and gender. As a result, patients who refused the device had a median survival of 14 months versus 28 months for patients who used it. At 5 years, 20% of Optune patients were still alive versus none of the patients who did not use it. Compliance is a very important factor but if we want it is intrinsic in the functioning. The device inhibits cell mitosis (division) but only when used. When not used, mitosis restarts and as we know it is the cancer cell that reproduce rapidly.

Manipulation of astrocytes in the tumor environment effective against glioblastoma
A team of Israeli researchers from Tel Aviv University has shown that by eliminating or inhibiting the ability of brain cells known as atrocity to supply energy to glioblastoma cells, it is possible to make the cancer cells die and therefore to make the tumour regress. The method was developed after discovering two mechanisms that support tumor growth and survival. The first protects the cancer cells from the immune system, the second provides the energy necessary for the rapid growth of the tumor. Both mechanisms are controlled by astrocytes and in the absence of these the cancer cells die and are eliminated. This research is still in the pre-clinical stage and has been shown to work first in the lab and then in animals. The animals that received the treatment were all cured. There is hope for a rapid transition to the clinical phase.

This breakthrough drug may treat cancerous brain tumors
This research is currently in clinical phase I with the possibility of moving to phase II within 2 years. The study presents a new molecule that acts on the control mechanisms of the circadian clock that regulates the alternation between sleep and wakefulness. In fact, it seems that glioblastoma stem cells take control of the circadian clock machinery and this helps them to spread more rapidly and to resist the effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatment. This molecule then directly attacks glioblastoma stem cells which as we know are the main causes of recurrences.

There are no other relevant innovations for the research. Best of luck to all those battling glioblastoma and their loved ones!