Glioblastoma is a very common and aggressive type of cancer that occurs in the brain. Glioblastoma is extremely difficult to treat. Current treatments only slow the disease progression and help reduce symptoms. However, novel therapeutic solutions are being developed around the world to offer better options to patients. Glioblastoma can occur at any age, but tends to occur more often in older adults. It can cause worsening headaches, nausea, vomiting and seizures.
What is glioblastoma?
Glioblastoma is a tumor cancer that develops from star-shaped cells in the brain: the astrocytes. In adults, this cancer usually starts in the cerebrum, the largest part of your brain. Glioblastomas develop their own blood supply, which helps them grow fast and easily invade normal brain tissue.
How common is it?
Glioblastomas represent around 50 % of all brain cancers. Glioblastomas affect between 2 and 5 adults per 100 000 a year. The number of new cases of glioblastomas per year can thus be estimated at around 250,000 worldwide, In Europe and the USA, 25 000 persons undergo therapy to treat this disease.
Glioblastomas tend to appear between the ages of 45 and 70 and affect more men than women.
What are the symptoms?
Glioblastomas symptoms are very varied. They stem from both brain cells destruction (necrosis) and the increasing intracranial pressure caused by the tumor growth. These symptoms include:
- Trouble thinking
- Changes in mood or personality
- Double or blurred vision
- Trouble speaking
How is it diagnosed?
If symptoms lead to suspecting a brain tumor, patients are referred to a neurologist, specialized in treating brain and nervous system disorders. Diagnosis is established through neurological exams (vision, hearing balance and coordination check), imaging tests (MRI – Magnetic Resonance Imaging, CT – computerized tomography CT scan and PET – positron emission tomography).
The definitive diagnosis is performed by collecting and testing a sample of abnormal tissue (biopsy).
The biopsy is the only way to definitively diagnose a brain tumor and give a prognosis to guide treatment decisions.
What are the available treatments?
Current treatments are used to slow and control tumor growth when achievable and help patients to live as comfortably as possible.
The Standard Of Care (SOC) still relies on radiotherapy and chemotherapy in addition, six weeks after the surgery (the so-called “Stupp protocol”).
- Surgery is the first treatment to address glioblastomas. Its goal is to remove as much of the tumor as possible. Unfortunately, in case the tumor is located in high-risk areas of the brain, it may not be possible to remove all of it.
- Radiotherapy is then delivered to destroy as many leftover tumor cells as possible after surgery. Radiotherapy also aims to slow down tumor growth.
- Chemotherapy is also part of the standard of care. Temozolomide is the only drug approved to be delivered upfront. It is administered concomitantly during radiotherapy and adjuvantly (so-called “Stupp protocol”)
What is the Hemerion technology?
Hemerion technologies are complementary to the existing surgery procedures.
They are based on the unprecedented combination of a photosensitizing drug and an innovative photonic device. The product combination integrates into the surgical workflow and destroys tumor cells without harming healthy cells, leading to more favorable outcomes
Our treatment combines a drug administered before surgery and a laser light. The drug selectively bond to tumor cells and destroy them when exposed with specific laser light.
Tumor cells are destroyed wherever the light penetrates without harming healthy tissue.
Can I participate in a clinical trial?
Hemerion will promote several trials in Europe and the USA between 2021 and 2024. The conditions to be included in those trials will be published on our website. In case you are interested in those trials, please subscribe to our newsletter.