Credit: Shawn Rocco/Duke Medicine
Dr. Matthias Gromeier, Associate Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at Duke Medical Center photographed in his lab at Duke in Durham, N.C. on August 8, 2013. Dr. Gromeier holds a sample of the modified poliovirus he developed to attack glioblastoma brain tumor cells. The treatment, developed at Duke and tested in an ongoing phase 1 study, capitalizes on the discovery that cancer cells have an abundance of receptors that work like magnets drawing the poliovirus, which then infects and kills the cells. The investigational therapy, known as PVSRIPO, uses an engineered form of the virus that is lethal to cancer cells, while harmless to normal cells. Infused directly into the patient�s tumor, the virus-based therapy also triggers the body�s immune fighters to launch an attack against the infected tumor cells.
In 2010 Stephanie Lipscomb was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive type of brain cancer. She underwent surgery to remove the tumor, but it returned two years later. She agreed to take part in this first phase of the research trial where the modified poliovirus is injected directly into the tumor. That was in May of 2012. Fourteen months later the tumor continues to shrink without the use of chemotherapy or radiation.