Brain cancer is a terrible disease that doctors and scientists find difficult to treat effectively. A particularly aggressive type of brain tumor is the so-called glioma.
People who are diagnosed with glioma typically don’t live very long—a little over a year on average—even with the best treatments currently available, such as chemotherapy and radiation.
That’s why new research from the University of Michigan is so important. It offers new hope for extending the lives of people living with glioma.
The experiment: A mixture of drugs for a strong effect
The research was led by Pedro Lowenstein and Maria Castro, experts in brain research and cancer studies.
They decided to try something different. Instead of using just one type of treatment, they mixed two types together.
The first part of the treatment uses a special protein called HSV-1-TK along with a common drug called Valtrex, which you may be familiar with for treating cold sores. When mixed, they create a potent substance that can kill cancer cells.
The second part uses a different protein called Flt3L. The job of this protein is to attract immune cells to the brain. These immune cells help the body fight cancer more effectively.
Combining these two treatments had amazing early results. Of the 18 patients in the study, six lived longer than two years, three lived longer than three years, and one is still alive after five years.
This is far longer than the typical life expectancy of 14 months for glioma patients.
What’s next: The future of this treatment
The best thing about this new treatment is that it didn’t make the patients sick, meaning the highest dose of the drugs used in this experiment could be used in future studies.
The researchers also found something surprising: the treatment remained active in the body much longer than expected, up to 17 months.
That’s great because it means the treatment could potentially work for a long time to prevent the cancer from coming back.
However, it is important to note that this is still early research. More studies need to be done to make sure the treatment is safe and effective for more people.
However, the results are really promising and could be the basis for better treatments in the future.
Doctors are constantly looking for better ways to treat diseases, and cancer is one of their toughest enemies. But this new study gives us hope.
It shows that a combination of two treatments could help people with an aggressive form of brain cancer live longer. While there is still much to be done, it is an exciting step forward in the fight against cancer.
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The study was published in The Lancet Oncology.
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