Glioblastoma Phase II Clinical Trial Expected to Begin in 2023

Our fundraising has been progressing, and early next year we hope to begin our phase II clinical trial on glioblastoma, the most common and most aggressive brain cancer.

We are very grateful for the significant and generous donation of $1 million from the Hugo Charitable Trust received earlier this year towards the trial. Hugo backs our work and we have been working with other trusts and philanthropists since to help make the clinical trial happen.

New trial to give valuable extra months to hundreds of brain cancer patients |

What we know, and are incredibly appreciative of, is that giving comes in many ways. And it is often through connections that good things happen.

For example, in September 16-year-old Hermione Sivasubramanian, a Year 12 student at Nga Tawa Diocesan School at Marton, suggested money raised from her schoolhouse fundraiser should come to us. She lost her father to esophageal cancer in November last year and wanted the fundraiser to support cancer research. When she learned of the work being done at Gillies McIndoe by Nga Tawa’s former Dux, and one of our PhD students, Freya Weth, Hermione was keen to support it. 

Freya’s important work will inform the glioblastoma phase II clinical trial, by growing ‘mini brains’ and developing a model of glioblastoma, and then testing to see how they respond to different medications.

The fundraiser also helped to raise awareness of our work, as well as the many opportunities that exist for girls in science.

Hermione and some Nga Tawa representatives visited recently to learn more from Freya and her colleagues.

Dr Swee Tan, Dr Clint Gray, Hermione Sivasubramanian, some Nga Tawa representatives and Freya Weth

We are closing in on our fundraising target to start the phase II clinical trial and hope to be able to announce more details in the New Year. 

While the full trial is expected to cost $3.6 million, we intend to commence once $1.5 million is raised.

The trial will use a new treatment approach targeting cancer stem cells by manipulating the renin-angiotensin system by repurposing a combination of low-cost, off-patent, safe oral medications.

Results from our glioblastoma phase I clinical trial showed the treatment is safe with minimal side effects and the quality of life and performance status of the participants are maintained during treatment and early indications show that the treatment may also improve median survival. The results were published in the international Journal of Clinical Neuroscience in December 2021 (

The phase II clinical trial will be much larger and start earlier – with treatment beginning soon after patients are diagnosed with glioblastoma, rather than after they have completed conventional treatment of surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy and having relapsed with no further options available.

If you are interested in donating, please visit

Facts about Glioblastoma:

  1. It is the most common, most aggressive, and devastating form of brain cancer
  2. It has a peak incidence of 45-75 years
  3. Between 180 and 200 people are diagnosed with glioblastoma each year in New Zealand
  4. Conventional treatment consists of surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy
  5. Despite this intensive treatment the tumour recurs in virtually every patient with half of them relapsing at 6 months and half of them dying at 14.6 months
  6. The last breakthrough occurred in 2005, with improvement of survival of 2 months using a new chemotherapy drug (temozolomide)
  7. Only 2% of the patients survive 5 years.