Monday, August 5, 2013
Tests show woman's brain tumor shrinking after poliovirus injection
That headline, written by Renee Elder of The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.), seems like something we’ve read a zillion times only to be disappointed later. This might be different because, as Elder writes, “The same virus that causes paralysis and sometimes death in polio patients may have the potential to cure people with cancerous brain tumors based on early results of a research trial underway at Duke University Medical Center.”
I’m no researcher or medical professional*, but this sounds like (Gadzooks!) something new.
Here’s the nut of the story from Ms. Elder: “Stephanie Lipscomb, 22, learned that she was nearly cancer-free during a checkup at Duke Cancer Center on Monday -- 14 months after a modified version of the poliovirus was injected into her brain to treat a recurring, aggressive cancer known as glioblastoma.”
Glioblastoma, (“GBM”) for those of you somewhat new to the tragic world of brain tumors is one of the most uncompromising villains of brain tumor. The National Cancer Institute reports that “GBM is one of the most devastating forms of all cancer, with a dismal life expectancy after diagnosis of less than 15 months.”
In fact earlier this year the National Brain Tumor Society, the largest nonprofit dedicated to the brain tumor community in the United States, announced “the formation of the Defeat GBM Research Collaborative. Defeat GBM is a strategic research initiative, which aims to double the five-year survival rate of patients with glioblastoma multiforme the most common and deadliest form of brain cancer – in just five years.”
For those of you who, like me, are mathematically challenged, that means stretching the survival rate to thirty months. Given the effectiveness of our current weapons in fighting GBM, that result would be a huge improvement for victims yet, at the same time, seems woefully inadequate.
So when I read this article about a “modified poliovirus” that is seemingly curing a young victim of GBM, I sat up and took notice. If you are similarly interested, here’s a link to the article: http://www.sunherald.com/2013/07/31/4839511/tests-show-womans-brain-tumor.html#storylink=cpy
*I did, though, feel like a professional patient after a series of brain tumor operations and procedures. If you have trouble sleeping, Chief Complaint, Brain Tumor (http://www.chief-complaint.com/) – a book about my brain tumor journey - might be of some help.
Image credit: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/photo_21167389_close-up-of-human-hand-holding-pen-examining-x-ray-results.html'>nexusplexus / 123RF Stock Photo</a>