Glioblastoma is an aggressive cancer that usually occurs in the spinal cord or the brain. While this cancer can occur at any age, it is more common in adults. The average life expectancy for patients with this type of cancer is between 12 to 15 months. Figures from the Glioblastoma Foundation show that while roughly 14,000 individuals are diagnosed with glioblastomas in America annually, less than 5% survive past the five-year mark.
This cancer is usually treated with chemotherapy, surgery and radiation but has a high rate of recurrence, which means the tumors have a higher likelihood of coming back.
Three years ago, Rick Miller received a brain cancer diagnosis of glioblastoma. With a fatal illness like this, Miller’s outlook on life did not look rosy. Instead of giving up, Miller signed up for a clinical trial at the University of Maryland’s Medical Center in Baltimore.
The trial that Miller and 14 other patients enrolled in involved the use of focused ultrasound. Focused ultrasound is a growing area of research, with more than 10 companies having invested millions to possibly deliver better treatment for a range of cancers.
During the trial, the medical staff at Baltimore Hospital, led by Dr. Graeme F. Woodworth, secured each of the patient’s heads with a metal halo and screws, and then put patients in MRI machines. Once this was done, each patient was injected with a bubbling agent, and clinical professionals used high-frequency sound waves, or ultrasound, to guide the bubbles to the exact site of the tumor.
Woodworth, who is a neurosurgeon, observed the MRI images on a computer screen in the control room as the bubbles created temporary openings in the blood-brain barrier. This protective layer of blood vessels and cells normally protects an individual’s brain from toxins as well as therapies that may help eliminate disease. In addition to the ultrasound treatments that the participants received once every month, each patient followed separate instructions from their oncologists, including taking chemotherapy drugs.
This treatment saved the life of Miller as well as most of the other patients involved, with the absence of Miller’s brain cancer being confirmed in regular scans.
In their report, the researchers observed that they were hopeful that new treatments for glioblastoma could be developed based on this discovery. They also noted that the leaks observed in the protective brain barrier lasted for hours, adding that this treatment was a promising research avenue.
The trial’s findings are yet to be submitted for publishing in a peer-reviewed journal.
A lot more efforts are going into developing better ways to treat different brain cancers. For example, CNS Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: CNSP) has a clinical development program in which the company is testing a drug candidate designed to cross the blood-brain barrier and target malignancies afflicting patients. Patients can therefore look forward to a new generation of treatments that deliver better clinical outcomes in the years to come.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to CNS Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: CNSP) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/CNSP
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