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Radio Shows | Glioblastoma Gene Therapy | mp3wmawav

It's incredible when you consider two thirds of people diagnosed with cancer are alive five years later. That kind of hope is also why it's crushing to patients who learn their cancer is an early death sentence.

One in particular is glioblastoma - an incurable brain tumor with no real treatment advances in two decades. Most cancers that start in the brain are glioblastomas which are formed from supportive tissue of the brain and spinal cord.

Without treatment patients die within three months. With surgery, radiation and chemotherapy patients can live about a year. Only a quarter survive two years and fewer than ten percent live up to five years.

Today there's new research that's giving these patients hope. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in LA has developed a gene therapy that's cured rats with glioblastomas.

You've heard a lot about gene therapy but simply put, it's a technique for correcting defective genes. In this case, the researchers injected rats with a virus stripped of its disease causing abilities as a mechanism to deliver two therapeutic genes.

One gene, the viral thymidine kinase does the main job of killing the cancer cells. It does so by activating a drug called ganciclovir which the researchers administered to the rats.

The second gene may offer the cure. The gene encodes a protein that draws immune cells from the bloodstream into the brain where they normally aren't found. These immune cells clean up the dead cancer cells and take them to the lymph nodes. There the immune system is alerted and additional immune cells then attack any remaining tumor cells during the treatment and long thereafter.

In the study, seventy percent of the rats survived with this new therapy. Clinical trials with humans are planned this year. Hopefully they'll be equally successful.

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The actual scientific paper published in Neuro-Oncology can be read here .

For a detailed summary of the above research that is more accessible for the layperson please see . This site includes commentary from another physician/scientist that emphasizes the novel nature and importance of this approach.

For a laypersons description of the approach and the results of using it treatment of glioblastoma is provided here).

Massachusetts General Hospital provides an excellent web page devoted to information about glioblastomas with extensive patient information including explanation as to the origins of the tumors, treatment options and the potential outcomes.
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The Clinical Trials website provided by the National Institutes of Health provides a listing of clinical trials of possible new treatments for glioblastomas can be found here .

The National Brain Tumor Foundation provides an excellent publication for those with an interest in brain tumors. It is very well written, with excellent illustrations and provides information in an understandable fashion.
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