Treatment trial for brain cancer patients

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Researchers in California are testing a new form of immunotherapy and a new way to give it to glioblastoma patients. The protein is injected right into the brain tumor. 

Rusty Doms's first scans were good after a cutting-edge procedure for glioblastoma. He hopes to get back on the paddleboard one day. 

Doms says, "I'm not on top of the world, but yes, I feel good. And one step in front of the other, and a positive attitude." 

He's part of a trial at John Wayne Cancer Institute. Doctors use a bioengineered protein that leaves healthy cells alone; it's called MDNA-55. 

Dr. Achal Singh Achrol, Chief of Glioma Surgery, John Wayne Cancer Institute says, "It can bind directly to tumor cells and bring in a payload, which is like a trojan horse that acts directly on tumor cells and causes the tumor cells to undergo programmed cell death."  

Doms and five others had the drug delivered directly to their tumors through up to four catheters. At first, guided by MRI's. It took up to 20 hours. 

Dr. Santosh Kesari, Dept. of Translational Neurosciences, John Wayne Cancer Center says, "Not only are we getting the bulk of the tumor that we see, but the drug is actually fusing to the rest of the brain where we see the single cells that are intertwined, infiltrating into the brain." 

Early results are promising. At one month, Doms had swelling, but at two, his MRI showed tumor shrinkage. 

Doms says, "If this trial is successful, I will have helped myself, but I will have helped other people, because right now, as best i know, there's no cure for glioblastoma." 

He knows it's early, but Doms is optimistic. The procedure is minimally invasive, and Doms was out of the hospital in two days. He says his worst side effects are fatigue and some cognitive delay. This trial is open and running in nine cancer centers in the US. 
 


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