Credit: Shawn Rocco/Duke Medicine
Stephanie Lipscomb undergoes an MRI at the Duke Cancer Center in Durham, N.C. on July 15, 2013. In 2010 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 the first phase of a research trial where a 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. Dr. Matthias Gromeier, an Associate Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at Duke Medical Center developed the modified poliovirus to attack glioblastoma brain tumor cells. The treatment 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.