Wednesday 23 November 2016

Innovative new brain tumour trial kicks off

The Anticancer Fund is pleased to announce that on Tuesday 15th November 2016, the first patient was enrolled in a clinical trial called CUSP9v3 for recurrent glioblastoma at the Department of Neurosurgery, University Hospital of Ulm, Germany. This is a phase 1 clinical trial. The study treatment will be given to 10 patients to assess safety and tolerability.

Glioblastoma is the most frequent type of malignant brain tumour in adults. In Europe and North America, there are 3-4 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants per year. Even when all visible tumour is surgically removed, glioblastoma almost always returns within a year. Therefore, after surgery patients are treated with radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Despite this additional treatment, glioblastomas usually regrow and at some point can no longer be effectively treated, often resulting in death 1-2 years after the initial diagnosis.

 "For decades, researchers have been looking for new experimental therapies for our patients with no real success yet" says Professor Marc-Eric Halatsch, the neurosurgeon leading the trial. "Together with Dr Richard Kast (USA), we sought to address the problem that glioblastomas usually find a way to escape the action of a single drug. In 2013, we teamed up with an international group of researchers to propose a treatment that would act on multiple mechanisms used by glioblastoma cells to grow. This treatment consists of 9 drugs that are currently on the market for other indications than cancer (‘repurposed’ drugs). These nine drugs have ancillary attributes that block several of the mechanisms glioblastoma cells use to grow. These drugs had remarkable effects in preventing growth of glioblastoma cells in preclinical studies. A clinical trial was warranted."

In addition to contributing to the design and set-up of the trial, the Anticancer Fund will provide €300,000 for this study. "This type of treatment is not developed by the pharma industry because the 9 drugs are from different companies and all are off-patent and mostly available as generics" says Lydie Meheus, director of the Anticancer Fund. "This implies that the treatment, if successful, will not generate substantial additional financial return for the manufacturers of the drugs. Since the treatment can benefit patients and the healthcare system, it must be developed with the support of philanthropy and governments."

Patients participating in the trial will receive CUSP9v3 for one year. When all patients have completed 2 months of treatment, a first analysis will be done on the safety and tolerability of the combined treatment.

If the combination is well tolerated, a larger multi-centre study will be initiated to evaluate the treatment’s efficacy.

Further information on the CUSP9v3 trial can be found on or on (NCT02770378).