Novel treatment helps fight advanced brain cancer

31 December 2016

A novel treatment has helped a man, whose brain cancer had invaded his spine, shrink the deadly tumours and make them completely vanish, The Associated Press reported.

In a first in the promising field, the treatment enabled, Richard Grady's immune system attack the disease. Doctors removed some of Grady's blood cells, called T cells, and genetically modified them in the lab to turn them into specialised soldiers to seek and destroy cancer.

The treatment, called CAR-T cell therapy had helped a number of people with blood cancers such as leukemia, but the way he was administered the treatment was new and might allow its use to other cancers that could spread such as breast and lung.

Grady was the first person to get the treatment dripped through a tube into a space in the brain where spinal fluid is made, sending it down the path the cancer travelled to his spine.

He had ''a remarkable response'' that opens the door to wider testing, said Dr Behnam Badie, neurosurgery chief at City of Hope, a cancer centre in Duarte, California, where Grady was treated, The Associated Press reported.

The New England Journal of Medicine reported the case this week.

In the US, about 20,000 people are diagnosed with a type of brain tumour called glioblastoma each year.

Grady from Seattle, had undergone surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, but the cancer returned.

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