Researchers Optimistic About Treatment to Prolong the Lives of Brain Cancer Patients

Life momentarily comes to a standstill for a patient, especially after the doctor diagnoses you with an aggressive brain tumor. To reduce the impact of this situation, researchers have announced a new pragmatic brain cancer treatment.

So what’s intriguing about this treatment?

Individualized and targeted therapy

With an estimated 23,880 new cases been reported in 2018, brain cancer is one of the life-threatening ailments. Consequently, with each new case, arises differentiation in the growth of tumors which demands specialized treatment.

Brain cancer. Source:

To enhance this care, doctors propose the injection of an improved polio vaccine precisely into the tumor, via a hole in the skull. Once infused, the polio vaccine attaches and neutralizes the tumor cells. This results in the halt in the spread and growth of the tumor.

So why use polio vaccine? Well, it was realized that altered polioviruses attract glioma cells which cause the malignant Glioblastoma. Thanks to prognostic biomarkers such as MGMT promoter methylation, patients’ immune system can go beyond IDH1/2 status.

According to Dr. Arnab Chakravati, head of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Ohio State University, the distinctive biomarkers are of great vitality. “It’s very important to personalize care for the individual patient and that’s why biomarkers, prognostic and predictive biomarkers are so important,” he insisted.

Nonetheless, this procedure needs to be accompanied by radiotherapy and temozolomide.

Tests used to guide the new brain tumor treatment

Basically, the beneficiary of targeted treatment is expected to enjoy an extended lifespan. Prior to this announcement, a team from the Duke University School of Medicine had conducted a similar test on 61 patients.

The results indicated that 21% of them survived past the sixth year mark. Well, this may be below the median percentage, it’s an optimistic result compared to alternatives such as chemotherapy which only achieve 4%. As for the patient, the stress, and despair, due to the reduced life expectancy of about 9 months, is gotten rid of.

As advocated by Dr. Darell Bigner, a neurologist and lead researcher of the team at Duke University School of Medicine, the treatment realizes remarkable results. “The most important thing is, it sets up a secondary immune response and really destroys the distant tumor cells,” he said.

Types of human brain cancers

According to the National Brain Tumor Society, there are over 120 types of brain tumors. The different types have further been classified into four main classifications namely; Astrocytomas, Meningioma, Pituitary tumors and Glioblastoma multiforme.

With Astrocytomas, the cancerous cells are aggressive on the cerebrum part of the brain. Furthermore, this class is categorized into four branches. These are; Grade I (Pilocytic Astrocytoma), Grade II (Diffuse Astrocytoma), Grade III (Anaplastic Neuroma) and Grade IV (Glibostomas).

Brain cancer research. Source:

As Meningioma, it is non-cancerous and slow-growing whereas pituitary tumor leads to lumps on the pituitary glands. However, the pituitary type is extremely rare.

Out of all the brain cancers, Gliblastoma multiforme is listed as one of the most deadly together with optic nerve Glioma, Subependymoma and Ependymoma. So what symptoms should patients look out for? Normally, symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, persistent headache, memory loss, weaknesses, and seizures call for patients to undergo a medical examination.

Will the new targeted treatment replace surgery and chemotherapy?

In the course of using of surgical procedure and radiotherapy in treatment, there has been a fair share of challenges. The most apparent one is the difficulty to fully remove the tumor as the heterogeneous cells keep on growing and spreading rapidly.

As the new treatment sets to spring into action, it should be highlighted that there is still some milestone to be covered. For instance, deliver resounding results to the World Health Organization standards.

“Similar to many immunotherapies, it appears that some patients don’t respond for one reason or another, but if they respond, they often become long-term survivors,” Dr. Annick Desjardins, a neuro-oncologist at Duke Health Centre, said in a statement.


Prognosis of new treatment

So far, no definite cure has been developed for the deadly brain tumors. That said the Polio vaccine treatment can only suffice six years. Unfortunately, not all patients will benefit from this therapy due to unresponsive cell mechanism.

All in all, there is plenty of room for more discoveries as researchers and doctors work towards an affirmative treatment.