First US Attempt: UAMS Uses Virus To Treat Brain Tumor

Courtesy KTHV

Courtesy KTHV

LITTLE ROCK — Doctors at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) successfully injected a cold virus into an Arkansas woman’s brain to fight a brain tumor, which is the first time the method has been used in the United States.

Beth Rogers, 63, had the successful procedure to treat her brain tumor, or glioblastoma, on Oct. 5, reported KTHV. Since then, Rogers has underwent immunotherapy treatments every three weeks without any complications or side effects.

Dr. J.D. Day, who is a professor and chairman of the UAMS Department of Neurosurgery, performed the surgery in which he injected an adenovirus that commonly causes respiratory illness into Rogers’ tumor. The virus is supposed to begin multiplying and infecting cancer cells, but leave the healthy cells alone.

Day said they are hoping to use a combination of therapies to treat the cancer, including the immunotherapy. This combination attack on the cancer cells has been effective for other types of cancer, but this is the first time it has been attempted on a brain tumor. He said if the procedure is successful, he’s hopeful that the treatment will be used to treat glioblastomas in the future.

Rogers had two previous surgeries on her tumor and has gone through both chemotherapy and radiation before she was referred to UAMS for the trial.

“I’m just hopeful through this trial that I’m going to help them find better treatment for glioblastoma because we’ve got to do something,” Rogers said. “I’m proud that it’s being done in Arkansas at UAMS.”

Day said he has laid groundwork to make UAMS a place where people can go for brain tumor treatment, because he doesn’t want Arkansas patients to have to leave the state.

“We have worked to build a center for brain cancer treatment that is essentially second to nobody,” Day said. “We have all of the tools; we have all of the important research; we have trials open to patients — anything that people beforehand would feel they would have to leave the state to get.”

To read more about the procedure on our affiliate KTHV’s website, click here.