Thursday, May 26, 2016

Latest GBM Insight: Immune Genes Identified that Affect How Long Victims May Live

The lead sentence from an article written by Robert Preidt says it best “Researchers have identified immune genes that may affect how long people live after diagnosis with a common type of brain cancer.” See

He goes on to quote study auther study author Dr. Anhua Wu, of First Hospital of China Medical University in Shenyang, China  who said "We've had luck with other types of cancer in removing the brakes on the immune system to allow it to fight the tumors, but this has not been the case with glioblastoma".

My scatological reaction is “no shit.”

Yet, it’s an important step that no one else has taken.

Preidt goes on to note that “If confirmed in other studies, the researchers say their findings could lead to improved treatment in the future.”

Here’s another important insight from Preidt’s article that, one hopes, identifies a tipping point: “Dr. Rifaat Bashir, a retired neurologist in Reston, Va., wrote an editorial accompanying the study. ‘The looming question in brain cancer research today is whether the launch of immunotherapy will help control an uncontrollable disease,’ Bashir said in the journal news release.”

"While this study does not answer this question, it brings us one step closer to believing that one day we will be able to exploit the immune system to better treat glioblastoma," Bashir noted.

The report was published online May 25 in the journal Neurology -

PS - According to the stock photo site from which I purchased this 3D animation the keywords describing this visual include brain, cancer, cancer cell, dead body, illness, and somewhat surprising to me ""beauty and health" 

Copyright: <a href=''>vitanovski / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Killing GBM with Polio: 60 Minutes Episode Labeled “Breakthrough Status”

All you brain tumor victims, caregivers and victim friends and relatives should know that:

“On May 15, CBS 60 Minutes reported that a polio virus vaccine received breakthrough status from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration because of promising results in early studies conducted at Duke University. In an almost 40-minute newscast, CBS 60 Minutes shares perspectives from the researchers, and stories from patients and caregivers that highlighted their experience on the trial.”

“Breakthrough Status” is not lightly given by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. To the best of my knowledge, this is unprecedented for a brain tumor therapy.

If you have a loved one suffering from Glioblastoma, watch this episode:

This is the second time I’m writing about this therapy.  I am compelled to write about it because a dear college friend of my wife and mine has just been diagnosed with GBM. GBM is a horrific, relentless, terrifying disease that strikes down wonderful people, fabulous people, important people indiscriminately and ruthlessly.

Historically, GBM victims have had almost no hope at all. Now, for the first time, there seems to be a path available to some victims. 

I cannot write anymore today, because if I do, I will start weeping and screaming and thrashing about like somebody or something is tearing my soul in two.


PS – In addition to providing a link to the episode, the segment’s script is also posted.
PPS – On this 60 Minute segment Scott Pelley is the correspondent. Denise Schrier Cetta and Michael Radutzky, are producers.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Novocure Announces

I was recently contacted by Jacqueline Hong of the Chandler Chicco Agency who sent me a copy of a May 5th press release saying “Novocure™ (NASDAQ: NVCR) announced today the availability of a new online resource to raise awareness of glioblastoma (GBM) and share stories of inspiration with the GBM community. An interactive exhibit featuring patients, caregivers, doctors, nurses and advocates will also be displayed within the coming months.”

You should know that I am conflicted about what I should do in these situations. Part of me understands that I am being contacted because, in addition to being the good guys that have developed this online resource, they are an oncology company who has products to sell. 
At the same time, it’s a nicely informative community-building website - – which may help some poor brain tumor victim who is desperate for information and brain tumor community support.

With that being said, the press release also says “The website,, features a mosaic of videos and images from the GBM community offering messages of hope and inspiration. The website also provides an overview of GBM and links to resources and advocacy groups.”

I was pleased to read that, “Novocure actively engaged members of the community to determine the resources they felt they needed most,” said Pritesh Shah, Senior Vice President, Americas. “This new website and exhibit were born from the GBM community and created with assets provided by the community.”

Let me know if you do or don't like reading about this kind of information in my blog.


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Canadian (Brain) Cancer Survivor Network

If you are a brain tumor victim or caretaker or friend or family member, I would advise you to read blogs and books written by other victims, caretakers, friends and family members. 

When I did, I learned that

  • I’m not the only one struggling with _______ (pick your tumor)
  • Others know how devastating the emotional hurdles are, let alone the chemo and radiation
  • Other people have had these problems and survived

You can find a great listing of brain cancer stories on the Canadian Cancer  Survivor Network:


PS – Importantly, they all ain’t happy stories with Hollywood endings.