Pre-conference Workshop Day

Tuesday 14th March 2023

9:00am -12:00pm Morning Workshop A: Optimizing Clinical Trial Design: From Biomarker Selection to Imaging to Endpoints


Many therapies show huge promise for glioblastoma treatment, but few have been successful in clinical trials. A key challenge associated with drug discovery in the space is designing efficient and effective trials, which grows increasingly more difficult with the adoption of combination approaches.

This workshop will cover:

  • Formulating an adaptive trial design
  • Next generation combination trial designs
  • Improving patient selection
  • Identifying the ideal dosing schedule
  • How to run a phase III trial- looking for endpoints, imaging, crossover

9:00am -12:00pm Morning Workshop B: Overcoming the Blood-Brain Barrier & Treating Glioblastoma Cells With Oncolytic Viruses

  • Tooba Cheema Senior Director, Translational Medicine & Biomarkers, Oncorus


Oncolytic virus therapy is a novel technique that was developed for GBM treatment specifically – as a solution to BBB penetrance. It is a particularly attractive approach as it utilizes viral vectors as both a delivery and therapeutic technique. With many oncolytic viruses currently in the clinic, could this promising approach be on the verge of breakthrough?

This workshop will cover:

  • Understanding the basic biological principles that underpin oncolytic viruses – how do they evade the BBB and how does this treatment work therapeutically?
  • A plethora of vector choices: Herpesviridae, Retroviridae, Adenoviridae, Flaviviridae – how are viral vectors selected?
  • Analyzing how well oncolytic viral therapy holds up in the clinic through case studies of clinical trials conducted on GBM so far
  • Building on this approach with potential combinations

12:00pm – 15:00pm Afternoon Workshop D: Evaluating the Best Models for Simulating GBM Pathology: PDx, Syngeneic, Xenograft & GM Mice


With brain tumors being so unique, identifying the best model for testing drugs and treatments can be difficult. A key issue that exists in this space is finding models that can accurately simulate the GBM environment in vitro, however, the plethora of options available serves to only complicate this decision further.

From translatability to costs, this workshop will cover:

  • Evaluating the use of PDx models
  • Understanding how useful genetically engineered mouse models really are
  • Switching to patient-derived xenograft models
  • Comparing other models such as xenograft cell lines and syngeneic models

12:00pm – 15:00pm Afternoon Workshop C: The DNA Damage Repair Pathway – Exploring the Various Ways That Inhibiting This Process Can Aid Glioblastoma Treatment

  • Erik Sulman Professor, NYU Grossman School of Medicine
  • Jann Sarkaria Professor - Consultant, Radiation Oncology, Mayo Clinic
  • Petra Hamerlik Principle Scientist & Translational Neuro-Oncology Chair, AstraZeneca


A challenge that exists across all of pharmacology is passing the BBB. DDR inhibition shows the exciting potential to overcome this issue, so this type of treatment is able to be systemically administered. In addition to this, DDR inhibitors also have the ability to sensitize cells to other therapies like radiotherapy and immunotherapy, enhancing the efficacy of these treatments. Neurooncologists that work with DDRis will unpack the promise of DDRis and evaluate the possibility of a new class of drugs that can be used to treat GBM.

This workshop will cover:

  • How effective are DDR inhibitors in penetrating the BBB?
  • Maximizing all the benefits of DDR inhibition: looking at combination therapies like radiotherapy
  • How DDR inhibitors interact with the microenvironment and how they can be used to enhance immunotherapy?