Testing a new drug combination for young people with low grade brain tumours

Working out the potential of combining two complementary drugs in treating young people with low grade gliomas.

Dr Susan Picton and colleagues at the University of Leeds and Birmingham Clinical Trials Unit are conducting a clinical trial to determine the potential value and best dose when combining the drugs nilotinib and vinblastine to treat young people with brain tumours.

The researchers are focusing on low grade childhood brain tumours called gliomas. Gliomas are often inoperable because of their location and can become more aggressive over time.

In this study jointly funded by The Brain Tumour Charity and Cancer Research UK the researchers will look to find the optimum safe dose of these two drugs when given in combination.

The researchers will then compare the effectiveness of treating patients with a combination of the two drugs at their optimum dose compared with treatment with vinblastine alone.

If the two drugs combined do work better than vinblastine alone this could lead onto a larger trial to more fully determine any additional benefit of this drug combination compared to standard treatment, ultimately changing the way these patients are treated.

Approximately 135 children under 15 years of age are diagnosed with low grade glioma each year in the UK. Whilst many can be successfully treated in the first instance, more than 50% of these tumours will go on to grow within five years after initial treatment. Therefore there is an urgent need to find new drugs with which to treat these patients.

Clinical trial information

Formal title: Phase I-II study of Vinblastine in combination with Nilotinib in children, adolescents and young adults with refractory or recurrent low grade glioma

Key Researcher: Dr Susan Picton, University of Birmingham

Tumour type: Paediatric low-grade glioma

Research type: Clinical Trial

Timing: Granted in May 2013 for four years