Brain cancer breakthrough: Polio Virus killed tumor in SC woman

Stephanie Lipscomb was first diagnosed with brain cancer in July of 2011, at just 20 years old, during her sophomore year of college at USC Upstate.

The FDA is calling a clinical trial that killed a cancerous brain tumor in an Upstate woman a medical breakthrough.

Stephanie Lipscomb was first diagnosed with brain cancer in July of 2011, at just 20 years old, during her sophomore year of college at USC Upstate.

Lipscomb received chemotherapy, radiation, and had a craniotomy to remove the tumor.

In April of 2012, the cancer returned. Stage 4 Glioblastoma. The most aggressive brain cancer, that has no cure.  Stephanie’s options were limited. She couldn’t have any more radiation, and her tumor didn’t respond well to chemo the first time.

Stephanie's tumor
Stephanie’s tumor

Her doctors at Duke University suggested a clinical trial that had never been tried on humans, that had done well on primates.

The process would use a re-engineered polio virus, injecting it directly into the brain.

The polio attacked the tumor, first causing it to swell, then awakening the immune system to attack the tumor.

Within months, Stephanie’s tumor disappeared. She has now been cancer free for 4 years, and considers herself cured.

Stephanie's tumor-free scan
Stephanie’s tumor-free scan

Dozens of patients responded positively to the trial and because of the success with Stephanie, the FDA has deemed the trial a medical breakthrough.

This allows researchers to have private companies raise money for more research and allow the trial to someday be opened up to all cancers.

Here’s a link to the polio virus trial at Duke: click here

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