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Brain Cancer Study Opens at Overlook Medical Center

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Credits: courtesy photo
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Kurt Jaeckle, MD, co-director of the Gerald J. Glasser Brain Tumor Center at Overlook Medical Center, and medical director of the Atlantic Center for Research, is leading a phase III study of novel drug VAL-083, which has already shown promise in Glioblastoma and other cancers. The study is for patients whose glioblastoma multiforme or gliosarcoma has progressed during or after treatment with the standard of care chemo-radiation therapy. Other study locations are: Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center; University of California, San Francisco; and Dent Neurosciences Research Center, Amherst, NY.

“Glioblastoma is very difficult to treat, and I am encouraged by previously reported results with VAL-083,” said Dr. Jaeckle.  “I am also happy that some of the most innovative pharmaceutical companies are looking to Atlantic Health System when they seek to test new types of treatments for brain tumors. The availability of this and other neuro-oncology clinical trials provides a benefit to our patients, and gives me hope for the future.”

Glioblastoma is the most common and most aggressive type of brain cancer, with typical survival of 14-20 months for newly diagnosed patients.  Standard treatment includes surgery to remove as much of the tumor as is safely possible, followed by radiation therapy and chemotherapy with temozolomide.  Nearly all glioblastoma patients will relapse.  Gliosarcoma, which is also being studied in this clinical trial, is a rare and equally aggressive form of glioblastoma. 

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VAL-083 is a first-in-class small molecule chemotherapy drug.  This means that the molecular structure of VAL-083 is not similar in chemical structure (an analogue) or derivative of other small molecule chemotherapeutics approved for the treatment of cancer.  VAL-083 is unique in that it has been shown to overcome cancer cells’ resistance to MGMT, a DNA-repair mechanism that causes recurrent glioblastoma to resist treatment with temozolomide.  Many glioblastoma tumors express large amounts of MGMT, making them difficult to treat with currently available chemotherapies.

According to DelMar Pharmaceuticals, VAL-083 has been assessed in 42 Phase I and Phase II clinical trials sponsored by the National Cancer Institute as a treatment against various cancers. Published pre-clinical and clinical data suggest that VAL-083 may be active against a range of tumor types, including lung, brain, cervical, ovarian tumors and hematologic (blood) cancers.  Earlier clinical trials have shown that VAL-083 is comparable or superior to other chemotherapies in treating glioblastoma.

To learn more about study inclusion and exclusion criteria, go to the Atlantic Center for Research: research.atlantichealth.org/VAL_083.

About the Gerald J. Glasser Brain Tumor Center

Specialists at the Gerald J. Glasser Brain Tumor Center treat a variety of brain tumors and related conditions, including acoustic neuromas and schwannomas; anaplastic astrocytomas, oligodendrogliomas and low-grade gliomas; brain, epidural and leptomeningeal metastases; ependymomas; glioblastomas; low-grade astrocytomas; lymphomas; meningiomas; medulloblastomas; peripheral nerve, pineal and pituitary tumors; rare glial and neuronal tumors; sarcomas; and spinal cord tumors. The center features a multidisciplinary panel of experts who specialize in neurosurgery, skull base surgery, neuroradiology, radiation oncology, neuro-oncology, medical oncology, neurology, neuropathology and social work. Overlook Medical Center also has the largest CyberKnife® program in the tri-state area for the treatment of brain tumors. The brain tumor center recently moved into its own space on the main level of Overlook Medical Center, in order to foster an optimal, convenient patient-centered experience.

Dr. Jaeckle sees patients at the Gerald J. Glasser Brain Tumor Center of Overlook Medical Center’s Atlantic Neuroscience Institute and Carol G. Simon Cancer Center, 99 Beauvoir Avenue, Summit, NJ. He and other members of the Gerald J. Glasser Brain Tumor Center can be reached at (908) 516-2941. For more information on this clinical trial or other studies, please call the Atlantic Center for Research at (973) 971-5235.

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