Glioblastoma, the most common and lethal form of brain cancer, represents only 1% of all invasive cancers, according to The National Foundation for Cancer Research. But it’s killed some high-profile folks like Senators John McCain and Ted Kennedy, as well as President Biden’s son Beau.
It also took the lives of two of singer Morgan Myles’ relatives.
Myles dedicated an emotional performance of Lady GaGa’s “Remember Us This Way” to her cousin and grandfather while participating in December’s semifinals of NBC’s “The Voice,” prompting the Glioblastoma Foundation to recruit Myles as its first-ever celebrity ambassador.Charged with raising awareness and funding, the nonprofit’s campaign, which launched last week, includes YouTube videos, PSA ads, a dedicated web page, and monthly postings and live talks on Myles’ social media platforms.
The Glioblastoma Foundation, founded by a group of researchers seven years ago, tells Marketing Daily it is “devoted to funding new, more effective therapies for glioblastoma that work for all patients…. by replacing radiation and chemotherapy with targeted small molecule therapies that prolong survival and increase quality of life.”
Despite its dominance in brain cancer, glioblastoma -- with some 15,000 people diagnosed annually in the U.S. -- is officially a rare disease, albeit one that’s been getting plenty of attention lately.
On Thursday, pharma firm Genenta Science announced that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had given orphan drug designation to its glioblastoma treatment, Temferon. Now undergoing clinical patient trials, Temferon is said to deliver “immunomodulatory” molecules directly to tumors.
The orphan drug designation is given for treatments of rare diseases or conditions, and Genenta says it gives drug developers eligibility for federal grants, tax credits for qualified clinical trials, prescription drug user fee exemptions, and seven years of marketing exclusivity period upon FDA approval.
A few weeks ago, in a study published in Science Advances, researchers from the University of Connecticut and Yale University announced they had developed a treatment that uses bioadhesive nanoparticles which adhere to the site of tumors and then slowly release synthesized peptide nucleic acids. This treatment is designed be used in conjunction with radiation and chemotherapy.
Another pharma company Novocure, which received FDA approval seven years ago for an Optune medical device that creates electric fields said to disrupt cancer cell division, this week announced its expansion to France.
“We hope to be able to replace surgery with targeted therapy, truly making glioblastoma a manageable chronic condition,” the Foundation says.