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If only brain tumour research could be funded in the same way as leukaemia and other cancers

Liquid aspirin breakthrough in brain tumour research

A potentially ground-breaking scientific breakthrough with far-reaching consequences for future treatments of brain tumours is to be revealed at an international research meeting in Poland today (Tuesday).

Prof. Geoff Pilkington and Dr Richard Hill, from the Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence at the University of Portsmouth, will present their research findings at the conference “Brain Tumours 2016 – From Biology to Therapy” on Tuesday 28th June.  Their group has been collaborating with Innovate Pharmaceuticals who have developed a novel formulation “IP1867B”, combining reformulated aspirin with two additional ingredients, into a soluble form.  Developing a true liquid aspirin has long been a scientific goal, as “soluble” aspirins currently on the market are not completely soluble and still contain grains that cause gastric side effects.

Most significantly for patients with brain tumours, this new formulation significantly increases the ability of drugs to cross the blood brain barrier.  This membrane serves to protect the brain but also blocks many conventional cancer drugs from reaching brain tumours.  This research suggests that Innovate Pharmaceutical’s IP1867B could be highly effective against glioblastoma (GBM), one of the most aggressive forms of the disease, which kills thousands of patients within a year.

The breakthrough came in laboratory tests on cancer cells from adults and children with brain tumours. In all the variations of drugs tested, including separating out the three key components of IP1867B, it was ten times more effective than any combination of other currently used drugs.

All three ingredients, which are already approved for use in the clinic, have been shown to kill tumour cells without having an effect on normal brain cells.  Although the drug will now be further developed in pre-clinical models, more research will be needed before we know whether it will be suitable for patients in clinical trials.

Sue Farrington Smith, Chief Executive of Brain Tumour Research, said: “This is a potential game-changer for research into brain tumours and clearly shows what sustainable research is able to achieve.  It is science like this that will enable us to eventually find a cure for this devastating disease which kills more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer.”

10 Responses to Liquid aspirin breakthrough in brain tumour research

  1. Eileen smith says:

    Great news. Hope it progresses to successful clinical trials. Such sustainable research is vital.

  2. Julian says:

    This is great news. Shame its too late for some, but hopefully many will be spared if IP1867B can kill glioblastoma and cross over the blood brain barrier. When can we expect this drug to be released?

  3. Imogen says:

    Is there a projected , time frame for starting clinical trials?

    • Natalie Dawson says:

      It is difficult to predict the timescale for the initial identification of a potential drug to the development of clinical trials. Firstly, we need to use a number of model systems which show that the drug is effective in killing tumour cells, capable of getting into the brain and finally killing full tumours with minimum damage to the other cells in the brain. This will take at least three years and only about 20% of potential drugs pass these tests.

      The initial test in the clinic is referred to as phase 1. This usually involves people without brain tumours and assesses whether the drug is safe, and also what doses should be used. The subsequent phase 2 is usually carried out in up to 30 patients in a single clinic and determines whether the drug may be effective. About 50% of drugs fail at this stage.

      Phase 3 usually uses a larger number of patients in a number of different clinics, possibly throughout Europe or the US. In addition to further assessing the efficacy of the drug, they also determine whether it is any better than the medication that is already being used in the clinic. Again, a number of drugs fail at this stage.

      While I know of a number of drugs in the pipeline for the treatment of brain tumours, these are at a relatively early stage and are not yet available for large scale clinical trials.

      Natalie

  4. Nikki Gadd says:

    Fantastic news that research is finding medicines that help without the awful side effects.
    How I wish this had been discovered, and tested a couple of years ago.
    I lost my wonderful dad in Feb 2016 to the disgusting disease that is GBM4, this research and new findings can hopefully stop another family facing the horror we did.
    Fingers crossed,strength and hope to those suffering and their families.

  5. Tessa Jones says:

    Would love to know if and when clinical trials start regarding this groundbreaking discovery of liquid aspirin.

    • Natalie Dawson says:

      It is difficult to predict the timescale for the initial identification of a potential drug to the development of clinical trials. Firstly, we need to use a number of model systems which show that the drug is effective in killing tumour cells, capable of getting into the brain and finally killing full tumours with minimum damage to the other cells in the brain. This will take at least three years and only about 20% of potential drugs pass these tests.

      The initial test in the clinic is referred to as phase 1. This usually involves people without brain tumours and assesses whether the drug is safe, and also what doses should be used. The subsequent phase 2 is usually carried out in up to 30 patients in a single clinic and determines whether the drug may be effective. About 50% of drugs fail at this stage.

      Phase 3 usually uses a larger number of patients in a number of different clinics, possibly throughout Europe or the US. In addition to further assessing the efficacy of the drug, they also determine whether it is any better than the medication that is already being used in the clinic. Again, a number of drugs fail at this stage.

      While I know of a number of drugs in the pipeline for the treatment of brain tumours, these are at a relatively early stage and are not yet available for large scale clinical trials.

      Natalie

  6. I am immensely proud that, with the support of thousands of patients, families and activists, the woeful underfunding of this dreadful disease has now been acknowledged.

  7. Jacqui Bayliss says:

    How I wish this was available now.I have a tiny 1.5 MM. regrow ,after removal of tumour and sucseeful Gamma Knive.sadly it is right near my optic nerve.I have been clear of Ovarian cancer for nearly four years after Icon 8 successful trial.They say it does not got to the brain,mine did.
    If you need me for a trail I’m am there like a shot.Thanks to you all who work for us all in this important work .

  8. Paul Downham says:

    Has there been any updates to this article? As we need a break through soon.As my tumour has come back and if we don’t get successful treatments soon this will be my last Christmas with my kids as it is inoperable now and it’s not responding to treatment.

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