Glioblastoma is the most common and most aggressive primary brain tumor, with a median overall survival (OS) of 15 months and a progression free survival (PFS) of 7 months only. Current treatment options (surgery, followed by radiotherapy and chemotherapy) slow the progression of the disease and reduce the symptoms but fail to offer genuine therapeutic solutions.
Hemerion technologies aim to improve surgery efficacy, significantly extend survival and enhance quality of life for glioblastoma patients.
A devastating disease
Glioblastoma, also known as Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a fast-growing glioma that develops from star-shaped glial cells (astrocytes and oligodendrocytes). GBM is often referred to as a grade IV astrocytoma.
GBMs can develop “de novo” or evolve from lower-grade astrocytomas or oligodendrogliomas.
It occurs mainly in the cerebral hemispheres, especially in the frontal and temporal lobes.
GBMs double in size every month without treatment: they are the most aggressive brain primary tumors.
Most patients with glioblastoma usually present with a short clinical history which ranges between 3 to 6 months:
- Necrosis and destruction of brain tissue give rise to focal neural deficit and cognitive impairments, depending on the regions affected by the tumor.
- Increased intracranial pressure due to the tumor increase in size. and edema results in headaches with progressive severity.
- Seizures affect 20 to 40 % of the patients and could be partial, complex partial or generalised.
A worldwide public health challenge
With a global incidence of 2 to 5 per 100,000 people and a very poor prognosis (survival time after diagnosis is around 17 months), glioblastoma (GBM) is a major public health issue.
GBM accounts for 50% of all gliomas in all age groups, with a peak incidence between 55 and 611.
More than 25,000 patients per year in Europe and in the US are newly diagnosed harbouring a GBM.
An unmet medical need
Since 2005, the standard of care has not changed and limited innovation has been offered to patients suffering from this pathology.
The main treatment for glioblastomas is surgery, followed by radiation and chemotherapy.
- The primary objective of surgery is to resect as much of the tumor as possible without damaging the surrounding healthy brain tissue. However, GBM tumor cells migrate and infiltrate deeply in surrounding tissue making it impossible to ever remove the tumor entirely. This limitation paves the way for inescapable relapses.
- Radiation therapy is generally performed after surgery to kill remaining tumor cells, at the cost of healthy tissue.
- Chemotherapy with temozolomide is the current standard of treatment for GBM. The drug is administered every day during radiation therapy and then for 6 to 12 cycles after radiation. Chemotherapy aims to control the tumor in the long term but only succeeds in 20 % of the cases.
Radiotherapy and chemotherapy performed after surgery only result in modest prolonged free progression survival. The most effective therapies used in the last 30 years have only improved median survival by an average of only 3 months2.
Hemerion’s therapeutic approach aims to significantly enhance these outcomes and integrate rapidly in the standard of care.