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About GBM

A brain tumor occurs when abnormal cells form within the brain. There are two main types of tumors: malignant tumors and benign (non-cancerous) tumors. These can be further classified as primary tumors, which start within the brain, and secondary metastasis tumors. All types of brain tumors may produce symptoms that vary depending on the size of the tumor and the part of the brain that is involved. Where symptoms exist, they may include headaches, seizures and problems with vision, vomiting and mental/psychological changes. Other symptoms may include difficulty walking, speaking, with sensations, or unconsciousness. If symptoms like these are present, seek medical advice as often an MRI is needed to identify if a tumor is present.

What is GBM?

Glioblastoma (GBM) is the deadliest type of brain cancer, accounting for 45% of all malignant brain tumors.  In the United States alone, over 12,000 new cases per year are detected and 240,000 worldwide.  The disease has long been universally fatal and without cure, with a median survival rate after diagnosis of one to two years and killing 95% of patients within five years and 99% by year 10. The average glioblastoma survival time is 12-18 months – only 25% of patients survive more than one year, and only 5% of patients survive more than five years. Untreated, survival is less than 6 months.

The disease is extremely complex, necessitating exhaustive research efforts to better understand, combat and defeat it. Like many cancers, GBM’s cause remains uncertain. Known inherited predispositions to the disease are extremely rare, but its incidence is more common among males, people older than 50 and those of Caucasian or Asian ethnicity. This devastating brain cancer most often first arises in the frontal or temporal lobe and spreads into other parts of the brain very quickly. Surgery, radiation or chemotherapy offer some hope in delaying disease recurrence or progression but not in eliminating it.

  • Surgery: Complete surgical removal of the cancer is extremely difficult because of finger-like tentacles that extend into surrounding normal brain tissue.
  • Radiation and Chemotherapy: Radiation and chemotherapy treatments, usually in tandem, can extend patient life and temporarily improve quality, but the tumor tends to increasingly resist the standard-of-care drug, and neither it nor any other yet represents a cure.
  • Precision Medicine: GBM is made up of a wide mix of different cell types that often differ from patient to patient, and, post-treatment, when tumors recur or grow back, the molecular profile changes dramatically—challenging precision medicine efforts.

The Challenge: The Standard Clinical Trial System is Ineffective for GBM

The development of new cancer treatments is accomplished through a procedure known as clinical trials, wherein experimental medical therapies are tested for safety, efficacy and improvement over the current standard of care or a placebo before being approved by proper regulatory authorities.

Unfortunately, the standard clinical trial model threatens the ability to deliver new and improved treatments to patients facing a diagnosis of glioblastoma. More than 90% of GBM patients will have died in the time it takes to test a single drug.  Efforts to bring any one particular new product to market may last more than eight years, cost hundreds of millions of dollars per treatment tested, require an enormous amount of devotion and leave us no closer to a cure than when the process

The and survival rate has been relatively unchanged for 30 yrs and standard treatment unchanged for nearly 20 years. When it comes to malignant brain tumors, “aggressive” means that the cancer forms, grows in size or spreads at a rapid pace. While there are well over 100 different types of brain tumors, glioblastoma is typically recognized as the most aggressive primary brain cancer in adults.

According to the National Brain Tumor Society, the average survival of glioblastoma patients is eight months after diagnosis; only 6.8% are alive after five years. Most gliomas are sporadic and seem to have no clear genetic cause.