Research News for the Third Two Months of 2021

This is the ninth article of the project which has the objective of treating (every two months) the news of the research on for glioblastoma multiforme. Today I am super happy… the site has exceeded 52,000 users (3 out of 4 from Italy) and we are still about 7,000 unique visitors per month! As regards the procedure for setting up the Voluntary Organization we are waiting to be included by the Region in the regional list of voluntary associations. We cross our fingers and hope to become fully operational soon.
Below is the news that I 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 with which the news is chosen is always to include in general only the news related to research in the clinical phase, unless the research potential for the treatment of glioblastoma is not really considerable.

Smart Cell Therapies for Solid Cancers Ready to Move Towards Clinical Trials
Cancer-fighting immunotherapies have been a life-saving advance for many patients, but the approach only works on some types of malignant tumors, leaving few treatment options for most cancer patients with solid tumors. Now, in two related articles published in Science Translational Medicine on April 28, 2021, UCSF researchers have shown how it is possible to design intelligent immune cells that are effective against solid tumors such as glioblastoma. We have already talked about it in a recent article and this video describes how it works. Researchers argue that “programming” basic computational skills into T cells solves the main problems that have so far prevented the success of these therapies on solid tumors. We hope clinical trials will be activated soon.

A randomized phase II trial of veliparib, radiotherapy and temozolomide in patients with unmethylated MGMT glioblastoma: the VERTU study    
Unfortunately, this study failed to show any improvement by adding a Parp inhibitor to the standard treatment for unmethylated MGMT glioblastoma. It highlights the need to develop new treatments, as survival was only 1 year in both the experimental group and the standard of care group.

Case Report: Prolonged Survival Following EGFRvIII CAR T Cell Treatment for Recurrent Glioblastoma     
Obviously 1 case report does not prove that a treatment works, but it is important to see long-term survival (36 months from recurrence) with a single injection of CAR-T cells!

Japan to approve virotherapy drug for 1st time for cancer treatment 
This could be a breakthrough in the treatment of glioblastomas. Teserpaturev is the new name of the G47 Delta treatment. In the clinical study for recurrent glioblastoma, a one-year survival rate of 92.3% was achieved, compared to historical rates of approximately 15%! The therapy is officially approved in Japan!

Combination chemotherapy versus temozolomide for patients with methylated MGMT (m-MGMT) glioblastoma: results of computational biological modeling to predict the magnitude of treatment benefit 
The authors developed a mathematical model with numerous biomarkers to try to figure out which one is best for a single patient with newly diagnosed methylated MGMT glioblastoma: Temozolomide, Lomustine, or the combination of the 2. Overall, the combination proved best in most. of cases, but there are cases where either drug alone has had better effects than the combination. The approach needs to be tested on patients, but this is the type of research we need to get closer to personalized treatments.

Prospective prediction of clinical drug response in high-grade gliomas using an ex vivo 3D cell culture assay   
This is a major step forward in finding the best treatments for a patient. The authors have come up with a new test that can predict whether your tumor will respond to Temodar (and a handful of other medications). A culture of cells taken from the patient at the time of surgery is used. The important point is that there are some patients with unmethylated MGMT that the system predicts will respond to Temodar contrary to expectations and indeed the patients have responded well. Similarly, there are cases in which the system predicted that patients with methylated MGMT would not respond contrary to expectations and in fact the patients did not respond to Temodar. The test seems reliable.

Ketogenic metabolic therapy could work synergistically with IDH1-mutant glioblastoma
This is the case of a single patient suffering from glioblastoma multiforme with the IDH1 mutation which is known to increase the chances of survival. However this patient used ketogenic metabolic therapy (KMT) without chemo or radiation. Ketogenic therapy is a non-toxic nutritional approach, seen as complementary or alternative, that uses a low-carb, high-fat diet to manage a range of cancers, including glioblastoma. Diets are known to not work in general but probably in specific cases like this they do.

Once again the solution appears to be targeted personalized therapy. Several research news reported in this article seem to suggest that this is the way to go. That’s all for this two-month period. I ask you to continue helping the fundraising campaign for CUSP-ND for Emanuele by sharing the link in order to spread the word and raise awareness as many people as possible. In this regard, watch the first news now! Best of luck to all those battling glioblastoma and their loved ones!