It’s difficult to treat a type of brain cancer that is nearly always fatal.
However, a new clinical trial that is underway may be improving the options for patients with deadly glioblastomas.
The survival rate for a type of brain cancer called glioblastoma is about 10% over a five year period.
External beam radiation treatment has always been challenging because the beams must pass through healthy tissue.
Now, a new method of increasing radiation to the tumor is showing promise.
David Williams said, “You know…I’m blessed,” which is not what you expect to hear from a man who just had an invasive treatment for a brain tumor.
“Get rid of it. No more tumors,” said David, who entered a clinical trial to treat the recurrence of a malignant brain tumor called glioblastoma.
Dr. John Floyd, a neurosurgeon from UT Health Science Center in San Antonio, explained, “This trial is very promising, because it’s completely out of the box. It’s not chemotherapy, it’s not surgery.”
The treatment is an infusion of a radioactive isotope called renium-186. The isotope is delivered directly into the tumor by catheter and it is enclosed in fat particles that stabilize it and keep it inside of the tumor.
“What I tell patients is, it’s like GPS for the brain and we can pinpoint just exactly where we want it to go,” said Dr. Floyd.
The radioactive particles stay inside the tumor, so radiation can be delivered in higher doses.
David’s treatment took about four hours and his wife, Shannon, was amazed at his quick recovery right after the treatment was over.
“He was already talking,” she exclaimed.
Andrew Brenner, a neuro-oncologist from the Cancer Therapy and Research Center in San Antonio, said it was key that the renium 186 stayed right in the tumor.
Dr. Brenner added, “There was no leakage of this drug anywhere outside of the area that we were targeting.”
This clinical trial is giving hope to both doctors and patients.
David Williams was the first person in the U.S. to have this very focused radiation treatment that is for recurrent glioblastoma brain tumors.
Doctors said that if the trial goes as planned, it may be used in the future for initial brain tumor treatments.
Research focusing on new treatments for glioblastoma has recently been highly publicized.
Scientists at Duke University are testing a therapy involving an engineered polio virus designed to attack glioblastoma tumor cells.
To read the full in-depth interview with Dr. John Floyd, visit the Ivanhoe Broadcast News website.