News & Blog

Top Five Blogs From January – March 2017

Stop me if you’ve heard this before – the past few months have been a bit frenetic. It goes without saying at this point that (unless you’ve been hibernating for the winter) the news cycle in the U.S. since January has been “active,” to say the least, as a new administration moved into the White House and a new Congress took up on Capitol Hill.

But alas, brain tumors adhere to no political party or the federal government’s calendar. Therefore, we at NBTS — along with the great support of many of you in the brain tumor community — fight on regardless of what’s driving national headlines. In fact, in the brain tumor community during the first quarter (Q1) of the year, we’ve had many of our own crucial developments, research discoveries, and poignant stories…but, again, you’d be forgiven if you missed some along the way.

Yet, worry not, today we’re featuring the five top stories from our blog during January – March of 2017 to recap, round-up, and make sure you’re caught up!

1. Potential Glioblastoma Treatments Entering the Pivotal Phase of Evaluation – March 30th, 2017

For years clinical trials in GBM were marked by many heartbreaking disappointments as potential new therapies dropped-off; determined to be ineffective before ever even reaching the pivotal last stage of the clinical research and evaluation process – large Phase III confirmatory studies.

But times have changed.


2. Meant to Live – Zachary Williams’ Story of Thriving Past Survival – March 10th, 2017

Zachary William (off-stage, he’s Zachary Zortman) was a local artist and musician who had begun to focus on family and a career when the sudden diagnosis of anaplastic astrocytoma pulled his life into sudden, sharp focus, and rededication to music and art. We interviewed him about the writing of his song, “Meant to Live,” which was inspired by his journey with a brain tumor; his life; and what he hopes other patients and survivors will take away from the song.


3. Hiding in Plain Sight: Defeat GBM Research Collaborative Helps Produce Paradigm-Shifting Study – February 8th, 2017

Small fragments of DNA that are not part of chromosomes (where DNA is usually packaged in human cells) – which were thought to be inconsequential and extremely rare in human cancers – have been found in high-frequencies in brain tumor cells, but not normal cells. These circular stretches of “extrachromosomal” DNA were revealed to have a high-likelihood of driving tumors and making them difficult to treat. This is a new discovery that has the potential to significantly change the way we view, understand, and treat cancer based on where culprit, cancer-fueling genes are found.


4. Lighting Up Like Firework: A First-Person Brain Tumor Journey Captures Headline – February 28th, 2017

“Going Out Like Fireworks,” is one veteran journalist’s deeply personal and immensely powerful look at living with a brain tumor from a patient’s perspective, which, since its initial publishing in the Dallas Morning News in mid-February, quickly spread across additional media outlets and social media. NBTS took a look at this narrative for Rare Disease Day 2017.


5. ‘This Is…’ Not the End: A Brain Tumor Photo-documentary Concludes, Celebrating Life – February 23rd, 2017

The photographic documentary followed the lives of a married couple, Josh and Jenna, as they contended with Josh’s diagnosis, treatment, and surgeries after being diagnosed with glioblastoma (GBM). NBTS’ Digital Communications and Marketing Manager, Steven LaFond, first reported on this project in 2015. Sadly, the project was completed in late 2016, when Josh passed away. Steven followed-up in late February with a Q&A with projects creator about the attention this is received, being a fixture in her subject’s lives, and what the largest takeaway from this project was for her, as an artist and brain tumor survivor.


We hope you’ll find these blogs interesting and helpful. And, if you are so obliged, please share these posts with your friends, families, and networks on social media. Together, we continue to raise awareness and educate the public about brain tumors and what is being done to end this disease!

And, of course, continue to stay up-to-date on the latest news and information by following NBTS on Twitter (@NBTStweets) and Facebook (, as well as by subscribing to our monthly eNews letter and subscribing to this blog!

Thanks for reading!

Tom Halkin

Senior Manager of Communications

National Brain Tumor Society

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