“Attacking an aggressive brain tumor with immunostimulatory gene therapy while enhancing the immune system’s ability to fight it with immune checkpoint inhibitors might be a promising approach to treat patients with glioblastoma multiforme, a brain tumor currently associated with a very poor prognosis.
“Being diagnosed with cancer is a stressful, life-changing event that can evoke feelings of fear, worry, sadness, and anger. Depression gives one feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, disinterest in previously enjoyable activities, and a consistently down and sad mood. Depression often interferes with one’s ability to work, sleep, eat, and enjoy life. Patients with cancer are especially at risk for depression because of the physical changes and limitations from symptoms and treatment as well as of the uncertainty their treatment holds on their lives.”
“Five rounds of the usual chemotherapy/radiation protocol kept Alan Gross alive through decades of living with lymphoma. The treatments were grueling, but he was living proof that science was giving us ways to live with cancer. Then the disease came roaring back, and doctors told him that their medicine no longer worked. They told him to get his affairs in order.
“Every day, thousands of Americans get the end-of-life warning that Alan and his wife, Jane Townsend, heard two years ago. The words are so powerful that they can have a concussive effect, making it hard to hear, to speak, to process information. ‘Your ability to think clearly and concentrate isn’t there,’ Jane told me.”
“Treatment with autologous chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-engineered T cells targeting the tumor-associated antigen interleukin-13 receptor alpha 2 (IL13Rα2) is associated with tumor regression in recurrent multifocal glioblastoma, according to a case report published in the Dec. 29 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
“Christine E. Brown, Ph.D., from the City of Hope Beckman Research Institute and Medical Center in Duarte, Calif., and colleagues describe their clinical experience with a patient with recurrent multifocal glioblastoma who received CAR-engineered T cells. Over 220 days, multiple infusions of CAR T cells were administered through two intracranial delivery routes: infusions into the resected tumor cavity followed by infusions into the ventricular system.”
“A man with deadly brain cancer that had spread to his spine saw his tumors shrink and, for a time, completely vanish after a novel treatment to help his immune system attack his disease—another first in this promising field.
“The type of immunotherapy that 50-year-old Richard Grady received already has helped some people with blood cancers such as leukemia. But the way he was given it is new, and may allow its use not just for brain tumors but also other cancers that can spread, such as breast and lung.”
“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).”