Doctors have reported on Tuesday that a revamped version of polio vaccine could contribute to improved longevity of brain tumor patients when infused directly into the aggressive brain tumors. According to the report of the team of doctors in the New England Journal of Medicine, this cannot be assumed as a miracle cure since only a marginal 20 percent of patients with glioma were able to benefit albeit with some patients living six years after the infusion. The team at the Duke University School of Medicine stated that it is a promising outcome that can be leveraged for future alongside testing the vaccine on larger number of people.
The leader of the study team and neurologist Dr. Darell Bigner reported to NBC News that the long-term survival in case of glioma identified in the study is considerably unusual and improbable outcome. The team conducted tests on 61 glioma patients over the course of five years. All of the patients experienced grade IV gliomas which is a group of brain tumours including glioblastoma. The team stated in the New England Journal of Medicine that the patients under study had dismal diagnosis alongside emphasizing on the lack of an effective therapy currently.
According to the information cited by the National Brain Tumor Society, almost one third of all brain tumors are gliomas and approximately 80,000 people are diagnosed with brain tumor every year among which 24,000 cases are malignant tumors. The research group also informed that the average survival rate in the case of patients with malignant brain tumor is merely 34.7% percent. However, evidence suggests that some viruses could home in on tumors and increase their visibility to the immune system.
The research team worked in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute for design and manufacture of a modified version of the polio vaccine virus. The medical team leveraged weakened and altered polio viruses suitable for polio vaccines through genetic engineering to enable them for carrying rhinovirus, a common cold virus that is known for being attracted the glioma cells. The team infused varying doses into tumors of 61 glioma patients who had volunteered for the study. According to Bigner, the virus established as secondary immune response which is attributed to the destruction of distant tumor cells.