Jump to content

Duke and Brain Tumors good News

Recommended Posts

Duke treatment shrinks patient's brain tumor

By Gerry Smith : Herald-Sun Washington bureau

news@heraldsun.com; 419-6630

May 3, 2006 : 7:32 pm ET

WASHINGTON -- Jonathan Hall tries to keep an even keel. After all, the treatment that could save his life has failed in the past.

But for now, "this one seems to be doing the trick," he said.

Hall, 41, has brain cancer. After undergoing a combination of treatments recently at the Brain Tumor Center at Duke University, a recent MRI found that his tumor has "shrunk significantly."

But he's one of the few. About three-fourths of the more than 2,000 patients that the center treats are enrolled in clinical trials, and while the study Hall is a part of is working for him, it has not worked in 21 of 34 other patients, he said.

"Different people react in different ways," said Jeremy Rich, a researcher at the center.

Rich has been focused on creating "targeted therapies." This approach attempts to limit the side effects of treatment by attacking specific parts of cancer cells without damaging the normal cells.

Working with cell cultures and mice, Rich and other researchers try to translate their discoveries in the lab into treatments for their patients. But progress is often slow.

"We have more failures than successes," said Henry Friedman, the center's deputy director, "but the number of successes is increasing."

And at times, finding the right drug is a process of trial and error.

"If one drug doesn't work, we might use two drugs," Rich said.

Brain cancer is almost always fatal, and is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in patients under 35. Symptoms can range from headaches and nausea, to partial paralysis and memory loss, depending on where the tumor is located in the brain.

In 100 patients, only a couple live more than five years after they are diagnosed, according to the national average. Friedman said the center's three- to five-year survival rate is 18 percent.

Since his diagnosis almost two years ago, Hall and his wife have made 2½-hour drive from their home in Wilmington every two months for treatment at Duke, one of the largest brain tumor centers in the country.

The treatment Hall is currently undergoing, a combination of Iressa, a drug often used to treat lung cancer, and rapamyacin, an immunosuppressant, is the third attempt the center has made at shrinking his tumor. The first treatment was too weak, Hall said, and the second made the tumor grow.

When his treatments have failed, Hall said, researchers have been quick to change their methods. "Unfortunately, that's a good portion of the game," said Hall, who credits his wife and three children -- ages 11, 9 and 1, for keeping his spirits up.

Until his next MRI, he remains upbeat and cautiously optimistic. "I'm trying to keep a steady head," he said. "We're going keep pushing forward."

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Do you know is this for mets or Primary brain tumor?



PS, Ldy i know has had 5 brain tumors. She was exposed to on the job chemicals. She was a police officer, under cover. She is doing very very well. She dx'd 3 yrs ago. Goes to UCLA in Los Angeles, CA

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.