ASCO News: Low Dose of Modified Polio Virus Works Best in Promising Duke Glioblastoma Trial

A modified polio virus therapy that is showing promising results for patients with glioblastoma brain tumors works best at a low dosage, according to the research team at Duke's Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center where the investigational therapy is being pioneered. This trial was recently described on television’s 60 Minutes on March 29, 2015 and a report was written up the same day in BioQuick News (see link below). Details of the Duke therapeutic protocol can be found in the BioQuick article and attached references. According to more recent news, the dosage findings for the first 20 patients in the phase 1 trial will be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting in Chicago that runs from May through June 2 (abstract #2068). "The purpose of a phase 1 trial is to identify the optimal dose to minimize toxicity," said Annick Desjardins, M.D., lead author of the ASCO presentation and Director of Clinical Research at the Brain Tumor Center in the Duke Cancer Institute. "Our trial design included escalating to higher doses, which is what is done with chemotherapy. "For chemotherapy, we are trained to give the largest dose possible with acceptable toxicity, because that is how the drugs work to attack tumors," Dr. Desjardins said. "But that does not appear to be necessary with our therapy, and, in fact, a lower dose attacks the tumor as well and results in fewer side effects." At the higher doses, Dr. Desjardins and colleagues report, inflammation at the tumor site increased the severity of side effects, including weakness and seizures. Patients required prolonged steroid use to reduce the inflammation, but this also dampened the immune response that the modified polio virus is designed to initiate.
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