CBS’ 60 Minutes has been following the story of patients enrolled in a clinical trial at Duke University, where they were given a genetically modified form of polio to combat cancer cells. Researchers may have found a way to use this strain of polio to combat glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer.
This treatment is by no means a sure cure, but researchers are happy with the results they have been seeing in treating glioblastoma. They plan to extend future trials to include other types of cancer including breast cancer, which is susceptible to this new form of treatment as well. Here, Dr. Henry Friedman (the Deputy Director of the Adult and Pediatric Neuro-oncology program at Duke) discusses his excitement towards these experimental trials!
How does it work? Instead of infecting the patients with polio, the treatment they’ve been developing over the past decade works by targeting only cancer cells and infecting them with polio. The study published from Duke’s Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center says, “[the genetically modified polio] kills cancer cells, but not normal cells, because its ability to grow (and kill) depends on biochemical abnormalities only present in cancer cells.” The hope is that once the injected tumors are gone, the body’s immune system will continue to fight off new cancer cells and halt the disease in its tracks. The trials are still ongoing but this is nonetheless an exciting development in the field of cancer research!
What does this mean for the future? That it is full of hope. With exciting breakthroughs like this, we need to support those conducting cancer research now more than ever. There is research being done at the University Of Michigan that uses the human genome to target better treatments for specific patients. Your donation will help research take another giant leap towards a cure!Whizzco