“Who might benefit from a clinical trial for an experimental cancer treatment?
“A common misperception is that such trials are strictly for patients who have reached the end of the road and have no more hope of being helped by standard treatments.
” ‘But it’s not last-ditch,’ said Dina G. Lansey, the assistant director for diversity and inclusion in clinical research at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. New forms of immunotherapy are being tested in many types of cancer, and not just at late stages.”
“A subgroup of patients with a devastating brain tumor called glioblastoma multiforme benefited from treatment with a class of chemotherapy drugs that two previous large clinical trials indicated was ineffective against the disease, according to a study at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
“Specifically, patients in the subgroup who were treated with chemotherapy drugs that block the growth of new blood vessels in the tumor lived an average of about one year longer than those who were given other classes of chemotherapy drugs, the researchers found.”
“Multi-institutional researchers investigating an incurable brain cancer in children have discovered three distinct subgroups of disease and identified promising drugs to target each type.
“The research findings are published online today and depicted on the cover of Cancer Cell. Co-principal investigator Dr. Daniel De Carvalho, Scientist at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, says being able to segregate and classify specific subgroups opens the door to providing precision medicine for children who have a highly malignant, non-inherited type of brain cancer called atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumours (ATRTs).”
“Phase 1 study results presented at the 21st Annual Scientific Meeting and Education Day of the Society for Neuro-Oncology (SNO) demonstrated the antibody drug conjugate ABT-414 has shown promising results for the treatment of patients with EGFR-amplified, recurrent glioblastoma (GBM).
“Lead author Martin van den Bent, MD, PhD, of the Erasmus MC Cancer Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, is presenting the findings during the SNO meeting, which was held November 17-20, 2016, in Scottsdale, Arizona.
“In an interview with Targeted Oncology, van den Bent discussed the trial’s significant findings, that agent’s toxicity profile, and what lies ahead for the investigational agent.”
“Based on encouraging efficacy signals and safety data from separate trials exploring the PD-1 inhibitor pembrolizumab (Keytruda) and the PD-L1 inhibitor durvalumab (MEDI4736), there is a role for checkpoint inhibitors in the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Data from the studies were reported by David Reardon, MD, at the 21st Society for Neuro-Oncology (SNO) Annual Scientific Meeting.
“Reardon said that these results mark important firsts in the field: ‘There has been a lot of anticipation regarding the role of checkpoint inhibitors for glioblastoma and whether we’ll see results in any way similar to the exciting results that have been observed in other cancer indications with this new class of cancer therapeutics.’ ”
“Findings from a recent phase II study showed the PD-L1 inhibitor durvalumab generated durable responses in bevacizumab-naïve patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Findings of the study were presented at the 2016 Society for Neuro-Oncology Annual Meeting.
“In a 30-patient cohort, the 6-month progression-free survival (PFS) rate was 20.0% (6 patients; 90% CI, 9.7-33.0). The median PFS was 13.9 weeks (95% CI, 8.1-24.0). Of these 6 patients, 3 had wild-type IDH1 status and 3 had mutated IDH1.”
“Researchers are hoping that a proposed phase II study exploring use of the Optune system in patients with recurrent grade III malignant glioma will expand the indications for the tumor treating fields (TTFields) device beyond its current FDA-approved use in recurrent grade IV glioblastoma.
“Daniel O’Connell, MD, a neuro-oncologist at UCLA’s Geffen School of Medicine, discussed his proposal with Targeted Oncology at the 21st Annual Scientific Meeting of the Society of Neuro-Oncology (SNO) held November 17 to 20, 2016 in Scottsdale, Arizona.”
“The PD-1 inhibitor nivolumab (Opdivo) was successfully combined with radiotherapy alone or concurrently with temozolomide for patients with newly-diagnosed glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in cohorts 1c and 1d from the phase I CheckMate-143 study, according to findings presented at the 2016 Society for Neuro-Oncology Annual Meeting.
” ‘The research question was if treatment with nivolumab to block immune checkpoint pathways could potentiate an antitumor immune response and have synergistic effects with radiotherapy or chemoradiotherapy in patients with newly diagnosed GBM,’ stated first author by Antonio Omuro, MD, of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.”
“Cancerous brain tumors are notorious for growing back despite surgical attempts to remove them – and for leading to a dire prognosis for patients. But scientists are developing a new way to try to root out malignant cells during surgery so fewer or none get left behind to form new tumors. The method, reported in the journal ACS Nano, could someday vastly improve the outlook for patients.
“Moritz F. Kircher and colleagues at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center point out that malignant brain tumors, particularly the kind known as glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), are among the toughest to beat. Although relatively rare, GBM is highly aggressive, and its cells multiply rapidly. Surgical removal is one of the main weapons doctors have to treat brain tumors. The problem is that currently, there’s no way to know if they have taken out all of the cancerous cells. And removing extra material “just in case” isn’t a good option in the brain, which controls so many critical processes. The techniques surgeons have at their disposal today are not accurate enough to identify all the cells that need to be excised. So Kircher’s team decided to develop a new method to fill that gap.
“The researchers used a handheld device resembling a laser pointer that can detect “Raman nanoprobes” with very high accuracy. These nanoprobes are injected the day prior to the operation and go specifically to tumor cells, and not to normal brain cells. Using a handheld Raman scanner in a mouse model that mimics human GBM, the researchers successfully identified and removed all malignant cells in the rodents’ brains. Also, because the technique involves steps that have already made it to human testing for other purposes, the researchers conclude that it has the potential to move readily into clinical trials. Surgeons might be able to use the device in the future to treat other types of brain cancer, they say.”