Brain cancer the deadliest for U.S. children

The deadliest cancer in children

Reuters wrote last week: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-cancer-children-idUSKCN11M09I

“Brain cancer is now the deadliest form of childhood cancer in the United States, surpassing leukemia, as treatment advances have allowed doctors to cure many blood-related cancers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Friday”

In 1999, nearly every 3rd child who died of cancer had leukemia. At that time brain cancer caused the deaths of one in four children. Years in between researchers have repeatedly warned about comparable death rates in these two pediatric cancer types. By 2014, the numbers had castled.

“Forms of leukemia that a generation ago were almost universally fatal are now almost universally curable,” said Sally Curtin, one of the authors of the cancer report.

Overall, cancer mortality in children dropped 20 percent from 1999, continuing the trend that started in the mid 1970s, according to the study by National Center for Health Statistics.

“The declines were broad, across all the age groups, males and females, for both white and black children,” Curtin said. “That in and of itself is noteworthy because so many health outcomes have disparities.”

Curtin noted also that brain cancer deaths held stable when leukemia deaths dropped. Absolute numbers, however, haven’t changed a lot, with mortality in childhood brain cancer slightly increasing from 516 in 1999 to 534 in 2014, the study also reported.

 

Why?

“For pediatric brain tumors in particular, we have not made significant headway at all,” said Katherine Warren, head of pediatric neuro-oncology at the National Cancer Institute.

Katherine Warren emphasizes also that childhood brain cancer is more difficult to treat, in part because the blood-brain barrier (BBB) protects the central nervous system from toxins [and medicines]. This makes it more difficult to deliver chemotherapy and many other blood-borne medicines.

 

What can we do?

I myself can see three main messages here:

  1. The brain cancer is very tricky – the “standard” mainstream approaches do not work due to several reasons. For instance, despite the big hope in immunotherapy is has not been shown efficient against brain cancer (http://ir.celldex.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=959021). More traditional chemotherapy is not efficient either, as was mentioned above, because BBB protects tumors in brain as the rest of the brain.
  2. Novel, specially designed approaches for brain cancer must be investigated and soon.
  3. Deaths from childhood brain cancer are being increased in US and I have all reasons to suspect that the situation is similar in the rest of the world – the trend is worrisome to say the least.

These news make me think of Temodex. It is locally applied and therefore cannot be stopped by BBB, which is why it has already shown the efficiency in treatment of brain cancers in adults. It combines the best way of [local] delivery/application with the best and only proven medicinal substance.

We do not need any better motivation to push the pivotal development of Temodex forward and make it available for children ASAP.

Igor

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