Glioblastoma Clinical Trial: The Henry Ford Cancer Institute Enrolls the World’s First Glioblastoma Patient


According to a recent article in CheckOrphan, glioblastoma (GBM) is considered to be among the deadliest cancers in the world.

Currently, treatment options are surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. In most cases, even after being treated with all three therapies, patients only survive on average about fifteen months. The disease can affect women or men at any age but it is most common among men sixty years of age or older.

National Cancer Institute figures show that 22,850 people were stricken with cancer of the brain or nervous system in 2015. Of that number, over fifteen thousand deaths were reported.

Many Thousands Have Lost Their Lives to Glioblastoma 

Beau Biden, former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, was diagnosed with GBM in 2013. Beau was treated with chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation. In 2015 Beau relapsed but this time the cancer progressed rapidly. He passed away at the age of 46.

GBM took the life of Sen. John McCain in 2018. His condition was first diagnosed in July of 2017. He was as brave in the face of this deadly cancer as he was when he was tortured for years as a prisoner of war.

It Takes a Village

In 2015, over one hundred thirty researchers, pathologists,  biostatisticians, clinicians, patient advocates, and leaders from industry and government came together to form the GBM Knowledge Network. GBM was one of the first types of tumors studied.

These collaborators successfully shaped the design and protocol for GBM AGILE (Adaptive Global Innovative Learning Environment). It is the world’s largest brain cancer clinical trial. GBM AGILE is the first-ever clinical trial for brain cancer that allows adaptations as it progresses.

GBM AGILE is a next-generation therapy. The trial does not follow traditional therapy. Rather it is a step in the direction of Precision Medicine.

GBM AGILE vs. Traditional Therapy

Certain characteristics of traditional trials are:

  • Results may not be evident for three to seven years
  • No modifications after the onset of the trial
  • Commonly only one treatment is tested against the standard of care

Conversely, the GBM AGILE platform is able to test multiple therapies against a control simultaneously. The trials can be held concurrently on several continents. This allows many more trial participants to benefit from the experimental therapies.

An outstanding feature of GBM AGILE is “adaptive randomization”. Contrary to traditional trials, the latest information is included in its briefings and made readily available. As data is updated, the trials will be able to identify which patients are most likely to benefit from the therapies. Patients will receive therapies faster and at a lower cost.

The goal of GBM AGILE Phase II/Phase III is to develop the most effective treatment for glioblastoma patients.

The Henry Ford Cancer Institute

The Institute is the world’s first to recruit a patient into the GBM AGILE trial. Its Neurosurgery department’s chairman, Dr.Steven Kalkanis, commented on the unprecedented advancement in the treatment of GBM. Dr. Kalkanis also mentioned molecular medicine, targeted therapies, and immunotherapy.

About GCAR (Global Coalition for Adaptive Research)

GCAR, which is comprised of many of the world’s noted physicians, investigators, and clinical researchers is sponsoring the GBM AGILE trial. The organization is focused on finding cures for the most deadly rare diseases. GCAR has made GBM AGILE its first priority.

GCAR’s members envision using the results of the GBM AGILE trial to benefit patients with other rare diseases. Learn more about this organization here.

Have you or anyone you know volunteered for a clinical trial?

Rose Duesterwald

Rose Duesterwald

Rose became acquainted with Patient Worthy after her husband was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia four years ago. He was treated with a methylating agent While he was being treated with a hypomethylating agent, Rose researched investigational drugs being developed to treat relapsed/refractory AML.

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