Poliovirus treatment helped patients with deadly brain tumors live longer | Science News

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Poliovirus treatment helped patients with deadly brain tumors live longer

A modified form of the virus increased survival in some people with glioblastoma

By
5:50pm, June 26, 2018
MRI images

GOING, GOING… These MRI images show a patient’s glioblastoma tumor eventually shrinking after being dosed with an altered poliovirus. The bottom row shows the tumor a year after treatment (left), at two years (middle) and at nearly five years (right).

Few treatment options are available to people facing a second battle with a particularly fatal type of brain tumor called glioblastoma. But dosing the tumor with a genetically modified poliovirus — one that doesn’t cause the eponymous, devastating disease — may give these patients more time, a small clinical study suggests.

Of 61 people with recurring glioblastoma who were treated with the modified virus, 21 percent were alive after three years. In a “historical” comparison group of 104 patients, who would have been eligible for the treatment but died before it was available, 4 percent lived as long, researchers report online June 26 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Two patients who received the altered virus are still alive today, six years after treatment. “They’ve been able to lead largely normal lives, and we almost never see

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