Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common, complex, treatment-resistant and deadliest type of brain cancer with 13,400 new cases diagnosed in the U.S. each year. On GBM Awareness Day on July 20, it’s important to raise public awareness of this devastating disease and honor individuals who have lost their lives to or are currently living with GBM. Further, GBM Awareness Day represents an opportunity to build momentum for and increase visibility of research being conducted to bring life-improving and life-saving treatments to patients with GBM. While significant progress is being made, there is still more to be done to conquer and cure GBM.
For patients or their loved ones with GBM, the impact and urgency to discover and develop new treatment options is significant. But brain cancer can’t wait. Check out these tips to learn more about GBM and how you or a loved one can take action today.
- Understanding the effect of GBM
GBM is a fast-growing and aggressive brain tumor and GBM patients can experience numerous neurological complications including headaches, seizures, changes in mood, mental function, speech, vision and sensory abilities. This life-threatening disease has no cure and carries a five-year survival rate of only 6.8%.
The most harrowing aspect of GBM is that tumor recurrence is almost inevitable after initial treatment, typically at or near the original location. For patients with a recurrent GBM, no standard of care exists. Average survival after the first recurrence is eight months and after the second recurrence is three to four months.
- Learn about available treatment options
Current therapies for GBM, including surgery (when possible), chemotherapy and radiation therapy, are debilitating strategies that are not curative. The goal of surgery is to remove as much of the tumor as possible without damaging the surrounding normal brain tissue needed for neurological function. This can be challenging given the complexity and invasiveness of the tumor growth, leading to some parts of the cancer remaining in the brain.
To date, external beam radiation therapy is one of the few treatment approaches that has been shown to prolong the life of GBM patients, but only for a short amount of time. However, this radiation can lead to high-toxicity and recurrence of cancer cells.
- Connect with your community for support
Patient advocacy groups such as the National Brain Tumor Society, Musella Foundation for Brain Tumor Research & Information, and End Brain Cancer Initiative offer disease education, clinical trial guidance and support to GBM patients. Advocacy groups also raise funds that support new GBM treatment research and give the GBM community a voice in national public health policy changes.
A community of people living with, caring for or grieving someone with GBM is only a few clicks away on social media. Online platforms allow people affected by GBM to find support, connect with other patients, and share their own personal stories.
- Talk to your doctor about clinical trials
Patients who volunteer in clinical trials can access treatments unavailable elsewhere, but it’s important to know as much as possible about the potential risks and benefits before deciding to participate.
Plus Therapeutics is evaluating an innovative, targeted radiotherapeutic, 186RNL, in the U.S. National Institutes of Health-supported ReSPECT-GBM Phase 1/2a clinical trial. This 186RNL drug candidate features high radiation doses delivered directly to the GBM tumor (sparing surrounding healthy tissue and cells) via a single, minimally invasive surgical procedure performed during a short hospital visit. Data collected to date from the trial have shown that 186RNL has potential to be a safe, effective and convenient treatment option for GBM patients and clinicians.
If you believe a clinical trial might be a good fit for you or a loved one, talk to your doctor and learn more at https://www.respect-trials.com/enrollment/.