Health, Science

Surgery, radiation and chemo didn’t stop the tumour, but an experimental treatment did

The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Cancer Centre at Duke University has the largest experience on the East Coast with my sort of tumour, so I went there for further consultation and treatment.

As doctors there examined me, it was obvious that my tumour had already grown again; in fact, it had quadrupled in size since my initial chemo and radiation. I was offered several treatments and experimental protocols, one of which involved implanting a modified polio virus into my brain. (This had been very successful in treating GBMs in mice.) Duke researchers had been working on this for 10 years and had just received permission from the FDA to treat 10 patients, but for only one a month. (A Duke press release last May explained that the treatment was designed to capitalize on the discovery that cancer cells have an abundance of receptors that work like magnets in drawing the polio virus, which then infects and kills the cells. The investigational therapy… uses an engineered form of the virus that is lethal to cancer cells, while harmless to normal cells. The therapy is infused directly into a patient’s tumour. The virus-based therapy also triggers the body’s immune system to attack the infected tumour cells) — via

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