Dr. Mark Souweidane today treated the final patient in his Phase I clinical trial of convection-enhanced delivery (CED) for diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG). The trial, which had enrolled 31 patients over the past four years, was designed to test the safety of CED as a means of delivering a cancer-fighting drug directly to the site of a DIPG tumor. (More about the DIPG trial.)
The trial received FDA approval in late 2011, and the first patient was treated in May 2012. (Read “Cheering for Caitlin,” a profile of the first patient.) Since then, 30 children have received infusions of a therapeutic agent called 124I-8H9, which consists of the 8H9 antibody (produced by mice and effective against many kinds of tumors) combined with the radioactive substance 124I. The dosage of the drug was increased over the course of the trial, also testing safety, but no dose-limiting side effects occurred in any patient.
The infusions, which were done at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, were able to deliver the drug directly to the brain stem tumor and were not blocked by the body’s protective blood-brain barrier, which normally prevents chemotherapy drugs from crossing from the bloodstream into the brain in sufficient concentrations to attack a tumor. In this trial, Dr. Souweidane was able to achieve concentrations of 1,000 times or more than what can be achieved with IV chemotherapy. He was also able to design and test new ways to measure those concentrations at the tumor site and monitor how long the drug stayed in the tumor.
Dr. Souweidane and his team will spend the next several months evaluating the data and preparing the results for publication. In the meantime, researchers in the Children’s Brain Tumor Project laboratory have been working to pave the road for the next stages of the trial. Other drugs and drug combinations are being tested to determine what the best agents are to infuse, and at what dose levels. DIPG cell lines are also being grown in the lab, providing a rich source of information about how the tumor mutates over time and responds to different treatments in vitro as well as in animal models. (More about the Children’s Brain Tumor Project.)
The Children’s Brain Tumor Project (CBTP) has been given the opportunity to add another researcher to our ambitious “Summer Sprint.” Carlos Colon, a committee member of the Cristian Rivera Foundation, has pledged $5,000 to support this additional summer research position to supplement our already ambitious effort.
Thanks to our generous supporters, the CBTP lab had already hired six summer researchers to work on testing new drugs and drug combinations against DIPG, GC, and other rare brain tumors; using PET imaging to evaluate these drugs; studying the transformation of low-grade gliomas into malignancies; and procuring samples of thalamic gliomas from other labs around the country. (See more about these projects.) The seventh researcher, Fatima Nathalia Morales, will be working on the team supporting Dr. Souweidane’s DIPG clinical trial, validating the method for monitoring brain tumor and distribution volumes in patients enrolled in the trial.
Fatima, an undergraduate student at Columbia University majoring in biology with a minor in mathematics, is spending the summer in the CBTP lab as part of the Travelers Summer Research Fellowship Program. The support from Carlos Colon and the Cristian Rivera Foundation makes it possible for us to provide her with the equipment and supplies she needs to do her work.
We are extremely grateful to Carlos Colon for the gift, and to John Rivera and the Cristian Rivera Foundation for the tireless efforts on our behalf.
Clinical Trial Update: Now treating patients at its seventh and final dose level, the trial of convection-enhanced delivery (CED) should conclude this summer. Fatima will be helping to evaluate data from more than four years of that trial.
The Cristian Rivera Foundation who is one of the top donors of The Children’s Brain Tumor Project is proud to attend the Children’s Brain Tumor Project Second Annual Family Council Meeting Today Tuesday April 28th, 2015. It’s an honor to come together with other families and foundations who all share the same passion towards helping fund Dr. Mark Souweidane and all the other Doctors who work tirelessly towards finding a cure for inoperable brain tumors.
Vivnet Gives Back Project
Vote Now till Saturday June 11th
Vivint Gives Pack Project is giving away $1.25 million to local charities, if we win, the donations received from Vivint will go towards medical research facilities aiming to cure Pontine Glioma. Renowned NYC event promoter and PR/marketing firm owner John “Gungie” Rivera created the Cristian Rivera Foundation in July 2009, six months after his six-year-old son Cristian lost his two-year battle with the fatal brain stem tumor. Pontine Glioma generally affects children between the ages of 1 and 9, with the average lifespan of a child after diagnosis falling between three and 18 months. Only 300 cases are discovered in the United States each year and there is currently no cure, though radiation and chemotherapy are administered to offer short-term treatment. We really need your support; the charity that receives the most votes will receive $250,000, while the remaining top charity in each of the five regions will receive $100,000 each. We are competing in the Eastern region, and although we’re a little late in the game, with your help we may be able to receive enough votes to stay in the top 20 and move on to Round 2! All you have to do is follow these 5 easy steps:
After endorsing, please tell your friends and family about the foundation and visit www.cristianriverafoundation.org. Thank you for the endorsement and may 2011 be the year we say goodbye to Pontine Glioma forever.