News in Research on Glioblastoma in the Second Two-Months 2023

This is the twentieth article of the project which aims to collect (every two months) the latest research on possible treatments for glioblastoma multiforme. Below are the news that we deemed most significant. As with the previous articles in the series, each news item will be preceded by the original title with a link to the source and followed by a brief comment. The criterion with which news items are chosen is always to generally include only news relating to research in the clinical phase, unless the potential of research for the treatment of glioblastoma is truly remarkable.

Dose-dependent efficacy of bevacizumab in recurrent glioblastoma
Dr. Vance was the first neuro-oncologist to use Avastin for glioblastomas. Most studies of Avastin use the 10 mg/kg dose used for colon cancer. The results showed an increase in response rate and progression-free survival, but no increase in overall survival. Dr. Vance has used a half dose, which she believes has better results. This study confirms it. For patients with recurrent GBM, a low-dose BEV regimen is associated with prolonged OS and PFS compared to the standard-dose regimen.

Novocure announces reimbursement of Optune® for the treatment of newly diagnosed glioblastoma in France
Well, in the end the Optune device is part of the standard of care in France, Switzerland, Austria… but still not in Italy and frankly I find it hard to find an explanation. Imagine it’s just an economic issue but it’s really hard to understand.

Surgery of newly diagnosed high-grade glioma with carmustine wafer implant. A long-term national retrospective study
This retrospective study reports an impressive 5-year survival of 10% with Gliadel Wafers. Historically, 5-year survival is about 4%. Gliadel Wafers could therefore buy time and could be useful in combination therapies.

Apogenix Partner CANbridge Announces Five-Year Overall Survival Rate of 67% vs 8.2% in Institutional Database with Asunercept Plus Standard of Care in Newly Diagnosed Glioblastoma Multiforme
Two-year overall survival of 83% versus 34.3% historical OS, 17.95 months median PFS versus 5.8 months historical PFS. These results were presented at the ESMO Sarcoma and Rare Cancers Annual Congress in Heidelberg, Germany. Apogenix, a biopharmaceutical company developing next-generation immunotherapies, announced that its partner CANbridge presented compelling long-term follow-up data from its Phase I/II study of asunercept (CAN0008 ) plus temozolomide/radiotherapy in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) newly diagnosed. It is a study with few (n=10) participants but the results are really promising.

The gel has a 100% success rate in stopping brain tumors in mice
A revolutionary gel has helped cure 100% of mice suffering from glioblastoma. The new therapy, developed by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, combines an anticancer drug and an antibody in a solution that self-assembles into a gel to fill the tiny furrows left after surgical removal of a brain tumor. What makes this therapy so effective is that the gel can reach areas that surgery doesn’t reach, killing lingering cancer cells and suppressing tumor growth. The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, show that the gel also triggers an immune response that helps the mouse’s body fight glioblastoma. When the researchers reintroduced new glioblastomas into the surviving mice, their immune systems defeated the cancer without further drugs. This shows that the gel appears to not only destroy existing cancer cells, but also helps program the immune system to discourage recurrence. Applying the gel directly to the brain without surgical removal of the tumor achieved a 50% survival rate. However, when surgery and gel are used in tandem, the survival rate has been 100%. The surgery likely relieves some of the pressure and allows more time for the gel to activate the immune system and fight the cancer cells. The gel solution consists of nano-sized strands made with paclitaxel, an FDA-approved drug for breast, lung and other cancers. These strands also release an antibody called aCD47, which suppresses macrophages. Macrophages are a type of white blood cell that help protect the body by engulfing and digesting harmful invaders such as bacteria and in the immune system, macrophages can often protect and support the growth of cancer cells, which they do not recognize as foreign invaders. By uniformly covering the tumor cavity, the gel delivers the drug steadily over several weeks.

That’s all for this issue on research news. Remember to register and enter your patient profile in Glioblastoma Navigator, the system is active and two video tutorials have been prepared. A Video Tutorial for Patients and Caregivers and a Video Tutorial for Specialists (Doctors and Researchers).
Good luck and sincere wishes to all those who are fighting glioblastoma and their loved ones!