Poliovirus could effectively treat fatal brain tumors

Doctors revealed on Tuesday 26th June that the Polio vaccine’s new and revised version helped the sufferers of fatal brain tumors to live longer in comparison to the time that they could have lived otherwise.  The vaccine was reportedly infused directly into the fatal brain tumors.

The researchers at the Duke University, who were involved in the study of this new technique, said that this experimental treatment extended the lifespan of a small circle of people who were suffering from glioblastoma and other conventional treatments did not hold good.

Dr. Darell Bigner, the Director of the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at the Duke Cancer Institute, said in a statement, “I’ve been doing this for 50 years and I’ve never seen results like this.”

However, the researchers, as well as some brain-cancer physicists, warned that this research is presently at an early stage. Duke Neuro-oncologist, Annick Desjardins, explained, “We have to be careful.” Further, Desjardins added, “But we have long-term survivors. We are seeing something we don’t normally see with patients with glioblastoma.”

Clinical Director at the Center for Neuro-Oncology of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Dr. David Reardon, explained that this treatment is a good and essential step for the fatal brain tumor sufferers who have no alternatives.

The researchers at the Duke University tried using a genetically altered copy of the Poliovirus that could reportedly result in a dangerous sort of paralysis as the virus is capable of infecting the cells of the nervous system. The scientists reportedly eliminated a gene of the virus to stop it from resulting in polio and reportedly replaced it with a gene from a non-dangerous virus called rhinovirus that causes common cold.

This modified virus then was infused into the tumors inside the brain of the patients with the help of a tube that was inserted via a hole within the skull.  This altered virus infected and killed the cells of the brain tumor and even triggered the cells in the immune system of the patients to fight with the tumors.

However, this comes with certain risks. This treatment could possibly result in a devastating swelling within the brain and also cause seizures. Nevertheless, the treatment increased the lifespan of the patients to 12.5 months in comparison to the lifespan of 11.3 months of the people who were given standard treatments.

The results of this study were published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Tuesday 26th June.

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