News in the Research in the First Two Months of 2024

This is the twenty-fourth article of the project which aims to periodically collect (every two months) the latest research on possible treatments for glioblastoma multiforme.

Before describing the news of the last two months I would like to give a brief summary of what happened last year. First of all that DCVax-L is awaiting approval, the large-scale phase 3 study showed significant improvements in long-term survival. A smaller study combining DCVax-L with immune boosters showed exceptional results. Approval in the UK appears imminent, with approval in the US to follow. Trials with Survaxm and MDNA55 also reported very good results. As for the Optune device, it has continued to make notable progress and if compliance (time in which it is used) is greater than 75% the impact on survival is very notable and even better if combined with other therapies. There has also been a lot of talk about focused ultrasound (FUS) therapies. So all in all an interesting year.

Below I list the news that we considered most significant in the last two months. As with the previous articles in the series, each piece of news will be preceded by the original title with a link to the source and followed by a short comment. The criterion with which the news is chosen is always to generally include only news relating to research in the clinical phase, unless the potential of the research for the treatment of glioblastoma is truly remarkable.

TME Pharma Announces Final Median Overall Survival Data Reaching 19.9 Months for NOX-A12 Combination Regimen in GLORIA Brain Cancer Trial and Survival Rate 10-Fold Greater Than Standard of Care
TME Pharma, focused on developing innovative therapies targeting the tumor environment, announced that the median overall survival (mOS) for newly diagnosed glioblastoma patients treated with NOX-A12, a CXCL12 inhibitor, in combination with bevacizumab and radiotherapy, reached 19.9 months. This result is significantly superior to standard treatments, which show an mOS of 10.5 months. Furthermore, treated patients had the poorest prognosis conditions, having incomplete resection and unmethylated MGMT methylation status.

Northwest Biotherapeutics Moves From Optimization of Flaskworks Prototype to Fabrication of GMP-Compliant Units For Installation, Validation and Final Testing Prior to Regulatory Certification
Northwest Bio has developed a solution that significantly reduces the costs of DCVax-L (now around €250k per patient). They have developed a system capable of automating the complex process, allowing the simultaneous creation of vaccines for multiple patients. This innovation also eliminates the need for sterile environments imposed by manual manufacturing methods. This advancement is expected to significantly simplify the production of DCVax-L once approval is received, enabling the company to meet any level of demand.

‘Olive oil’ drug shows promise in treating aggressive brain cancer at London hospital
A drug derived from olive oil, called 2-OHOA, has shown promising results in treating glioblastoma in a study led by the Royal Marsden and Institute of Cancer Research. In the group of 21 patients with recurrent glioblastoma, 24% responded to treatment and one patient showed an exceptional response without any signs of disease for more than three years.

Tumor Treating Fields (TTFields) combined with the drug repurposing approach CUSP9v3 induce metabolic reprogramming and synergistic anti-glioblastoma activity in vitro
This study explores the combined use of Electric Fields for the Treatment of Tumors (TTFields) and CUSP9v3, on which we also held a video conference. This treatment uses a cocktail of drugs, inspired by the method used by Ben Williams, the most famous glioblastoma survivor, author of the book “Surviving Terminal Cancer”. Treatment includes nine repositioned drugs plus temozolomide with metronomic doses. Preclinical results show that this combination has synergistic effects, significantly reducing the viability and mobility of glioblastoma cells, increasing apoptosis and decreasing the metabolic activity of tumor cells. I immediately called Prof.Marc-Halatsch, principal investigator of the CUSP9v3 clinical trial who told me that, the CUSP9v3 treatment proceeds individually outside of a clinical trial in Germany and Switzerland. Phase III clinical trial on CUSP9v3 protocol is in preparation. Treatment will begin 4 weeks after that chemoradiotherapy and will last for 12 months. There is still uncertainty over trial approval in countries such as Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Italy due to differences in laws regulating clinical trials. I will keep you informed. As you know, despite the complexity of managing a drug cocktail approach, given the changing nature of glioblastoma which is different from patient to patient and often also in different areas of the lesion in the individual patient and considering that normally 20-25% of patients they respond well to single therapy, these therapies, in my opinion, better if personalized, have the highest probability of being effective and ultimately representing a cure for this disease.

That’s all for this research news issue. Best of luck to all those who are fighting glioblastoma and their loved ones!