New virus injection treatment shows progress in fight against glioblastoma

Denise Dador Image
Friday, November 4, 2016
New injection treatment shows progress in fight against glioblastoma
A new injection therapy is showing signs of progress in the fight against glioblastoma, an aggressive kind of brain cancer.

No one wants to hear the words brain cancer, especially glioblastoma, which is the most aggressive kind of cancer.

Even with standard treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation, most patients often do not live past a year and a half. Many people take meds to fight the infection, but 42-year-old Francois does the opposite.

His cancer treatment contains a virus, and it's this new treatment that appears to be showing some promise.

"This is a virus that humans don't normally see and so there's not a built-in immunity," Dr. Michael Vogelbaum said.

Vogelbaum said the virus' job is to help fight glioblastoma, or GBM. In a report provided by the Cleveland Clinic, where the study is taking place, Vogelbaum said the drug appears to be helping Francois, who was diagnosed with GBM in 2014.

"I have only one child, so he was born when I discovered the problem. He's as old as my health problems," Francios said.

He is now looking forward to his son's second birthday. The experimental treatment involves injecting a live virus into the brain tumor. The virus carries a gene which makes the tumor more sensitive to a medication that eventually turns into a chemotherapy agent.

"It's only cells that have this gene that can convert it into a toxic chemotherapy," Vogelbaum said.

Researchers hope the next study will show the virus therapy is an effective tool against GBM. Francios' cancer is now under control, which means he has more time with his son.

He said every time he gets to see his son's birthday, he'll know how many years he's been dealing with GBM and surviving it.