LOS ANGELES -- (10/30/2017) -- Glioblastoma is the most common and deadliest form of brain cancer. Even after surgery and aggressive chemotherapy, most patients only live 14 months after diagnosis. A clinical trial is delivering a bioengineered fusion protein directly into the tumor.
Rusty Doms’s first scans were good after a cutting-edge procedure for glioblastoma. He hopes to get back on the paddleboard one day.
Doms explained to Ivanhoe, “I’m not on top of the world, but yes, I feel good. And one step in front of the other, and a positive attitude.”
He’s part of a trial at John Wayne Cancer Institute. Doctors use a bioengineered protein that leaves healthy cells alone; it’s called MDNA55.
“It can bind directly to tumor cells and bring in a payload, which is like a Trojan horse that acts directly on tumor cells and causes the tumor cells to undergo programmed cell death,” said Achal Singh Achrol, MD, Chief of Glioma Surgery Program, Director of Neurovascular Surgery, John Wayne Cancer Institute and Pacific Neuroscience Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Center.
Rusty and five others had the drug delivered directly to their tumors through up to four catheters. At first, guided by MRI’s. It took up to 20 hours.
“Not only are we getting the bulk of the tumor that we see, but the drug is actually fusing to the rest of the brain where we see the single cells that are intertwined, infiltrating into the brain,” explained Santosh Kesari, MD, Chair, Dept. of Translational Neurosciences at John Wayne Cancer Center.
Early results are promising. At one month, Rusty had swelling, but at two, his MRI showed tumor shrinkage.
Doms stated, “If this trial is successful, I will have helped myself, but I will have helped other people, because right now, as best I know, there’s no cure for glioblastoma.”
He knows it’s early, but Rusty is optimistic.
The procedure is minimally invasive, and Rusty was out of the hospital in two days. He says his worst side effects are fatigue and some cognitive delay. This trial is open and running in nine cancer centers in the U.S.