American Brain Tumor Association Supports Special Session on Metastatic Brain Tumors at 2016 Society of Neuro-Oncology Meeting

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Session convenes experts who share the ABTA’s commitment to advancing the management of metastatic brain tumors, the most common brain tumor in adults

November 15, 2016

Advances in therapies for brain tumor patients will be presented at the Society for Neuro-Oncology (SNO) 21st Annual Meeting, November 17 – 20, 2016. As part of the American Brain Tumor Association’s (ABTA) commitment to bringing the management of metastatic brain tumors to the forefront of cancer treatment and care, the ABTA is supporting a special session “The Changing Landscape of the Management of Brain Metastases” on Friday, November 18.  The session will focus on emerging treatments and management strategies for metastatic brain tumors.  Throughout the SNO annual meeting, ABTA-funded researchers will also be presenting on potential therapies that inhibit cancerous activities in aggressive tumor cells.

Chaired by Manmeet Ahluwalia, MD, FACP, Cleveland Clinic, “The Changing Landscape of the Management of Brain Metastases,” will showcase scientists and clinicians from leading medical research institutions who will lead discussions on current treatments and therapeutic advances for brain metastases. The session will be held on Friday, November 18, 2016 in Room Moor 3 of the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Hotel.

Metastatic brain tumors are the most common brain tumor in adults. These tumors begin elsewhere in the body and spread to the brain. Metastatic brain tumors usually contain the same type of cancer cells found at the primary cancer site. Skin cancer (melanoma), lung cancer and breast cancer are the most frequent to develop brain metastasis and account for 67-80 percent of all cancers.

In addition to sponsoring the special session on brain metastasis at SNO, the ABTA has also funded the work of researchers, who will present their new findings at the conference. ABTA-funded investigators will report on potential therapeutic strategies to inhibit the molecular activities in glioblastoma cancer cells. Glioblastoma is one of the most aggressive, rapidly growing brain cancers and affects nearly 15.4 percent of all primary brain tumors.

Awarded an ABTA Basic Research Fellowship in 2015, William Flavahan, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital will discuss “Insulator dysfunction as an oncogenic driver in glioma” on Sunday, November 20, 2016, 9:15 – 9:30 a.m. at an oral presentation.  Dr. Flavahan’s research has shown that the way DNA is folded inside a cell can affect how certain genes are turned on. In GBM tumor cells, genes that are turned off in normal cells can be turned on in gliomas when the DNA is improperly folded.

Four other researchers will present their ABTA-funded work on Saturday, November 19, 2016, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. at the SNO Annual Meeting poster session. 

  • Lan Hoang-Minh, PhD, University of Florida, a 2016 ABTA Basic Research Fellow, will present data from her study titled, “Selective inhibition of HDAC6 affects ciliogenesis and prevents glioblastoma growth,” which shows that inhibiting the development of cellular antennae, called primary cilia, can help prevent tumor growth in GBM cells. These cellular antennae have been found to transmit signals for cells to multiply. Dr. Hoang-Minh’s work demonstrates that drugs targeting the protein HDAC6 prevents the formation of these cilia and help to slow the growth of GBM cells and increase their tumor death. 
  • Hernando Lopez-Bertoni, PhD, Kennedy Krieger Institute, who was awarded an ABTA Basic Research Fellowship grant in 2015, will present his findings for “Nanoparticle delivery of miRNAs to inhibit GBM stem cells”, a potential new method to treat GBM. Dr. Lopez-Bertoni and his colleagues are using a method called nano/miR conjugates, where nanoparticles are used to deliver two targeted molecules that prevent other molecules in the cell from being made (microRNAs). These molecules act as suppressors in GBM cells and help to limit tumor growth. 
  • Renee Read, PhD, Emory University School of Medicine, a 2015 ABTA Discovery Grant recipient, will present on “YAP function in pediatric glioblastomas.” Dr. Read will highlight recent findings on YAP, a protein that is important for brain development, but also accelerates the growth of high-grade gliomas in children. Dr. Read’s work shows that blocking YAP stops tumor growth and causes cell death in cancer cells. This highlights a new potential therapeutic strategy for incurable childhood brain tumors.
  • Forrest Kievit, PhD, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a 2013 ABTA Basic Research Fellowship recipient, will discuss “Nanoparticle-mediated inhibition of DNA repair increases survival in a genetic mouse model of glioblastoma after radiotherapy”. Dr. Kievit’s work focuses on improving radiotherapy by using nanoparticles to deliver a molecule that will make the tumors more sensitive to radiation.

For more information about the special session or ABTA-funded research, contact the ABTA at or call 773-577-8750. 

About the American Brain Tumor Association

Founded in 1973, the American Brain Tumor Association was the first and is the only national patient advocacy organization committed to funding brain tumor research and providing support and education programs for people of all tumor types and all ages. For more information, visit

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Media Contact:
Phung Tran,, 773-577-8792