Editor’s note: Researchers have launched a new clinical trial—a research study with volunteer patients—to test a new treatment for brain tumors. In the treatment, a patient first undergoes tumor-removal surgery. Then, a harmless virus delivers two new genes to the brain to kill any remaining cancer cells. One of the genes kills tumor cells directly and the other boosts the patient’s own immune system to attack tumor cells. Patients in the trial will also receive standard chemotherapy and radiation. Two patients are already enrolled. The trial is enrolling patients with grade 3 or 4 malignant primary glioma, such as glioblastoma multiforme.
“University of Michigan Health System doctors have started testing a unique new approach to fighting brain tumors — one that delivers a one-two punch designed to knock out the most dangerous brain cancer.
“The experimental approach, based on U-M research, delivers two different genes directly into the brains of patients following the operation to remove the bulk of their tumors.
“The idea: trigger immune activity within the brain itself to kill remaining tumor cells — the ones neurosurgeons can’t take out, which make this type of tumor so dangerous.
“It’s the first time this gene therapy approach is being tried in humans, after more than a decade of research in experimental models.”