The use of a “smart” drug that targets cancer cells in the brain following removal of a tumor may provide treatment that can extend the survival of people with the most common form of primary malignant brain tumor.

A phase III research study being conducted at Rush University Medical Center by neurosurgeon Dr. Richard Byrne involves the use of convection-enhanced delivery, a novel drug delivery approach, to facilitate infusion of the study drug, IL13-PE38QQR, into the brain. IL13-PE38QQR is designed to attach to specific receptors on tumor cells that are not present on normal brain cells.



The problem with current treatments for brain tumors is that while neurosurgeons can remove as much as 95 percent or more of a tumor, some cancer cells will remain undetectable and scattered throughout the brain tissue adjacent to the tumor site. Current methods to kill the remaining cancer cells with radiation or chemotherapy have resulted in a median survival rate after initial diagnosis of about nine to twelve months, and normal brain cells can be injured in the process.



Patients in the study first will undergo neurosurgery to remove as much of the GBM tumor as possible. Within a week, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) will be used to scan the brain tissue around the cavity where the tumor has been removed to identify suspicious areas where cancer cells may remain.



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