New treatments for glioblastoma (GBM) are constantly being researched. GBM is the most aggressive of brain cancers, and comes with rapid recurrence and a short survival time. Biomedical engineers at Duke University have recently started to experiment with an aggressive treatment option, bacterium Salmonella typhimurium. This genetically modified strain of Salmonella, a bacteria which normally causes food poisoning, is injected directly into the brain. The modified genes cause the bacteria to seek out the tumors. When the bacteria find the tumors, they release toxins, which kill the cancer cells.
GBM is hard to cure because there are no defined edges of the tumor in the brain. Therefore, even when the tumor is resected, it is likely to regrow and at a rapid pace. So far in preliminary testing, there has shown complete tumor regression in 20% of rates, and did not negatively affect the survival time of the other 80%. The researchers have found this success rate to be encouraging due to the fact that there are very few survivors of a GBM diagnosis.
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