Skip to comments.Poliovirus kills area college student's brain tumor
Posted on 04/29/2014 6:01:28 PM PDT by Gamecock
SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- It is an incredible story of a girl with a rare and deadly form of cancer seemingly saved by a shocking experimental treatment at Duke Medical Center.
Don't let her easy disposition fool you. She smiles a lot, laughs easily. But doctors will tell you Stephanie Lipscomb should be dead right now.
The odds werent good. They didnt expect me to live more than two years I dont think.
The University of South Carolina nursing student was just 20, a sorority girl, part time waitress, and all around girl next door when she began having migraines.
She was diagnosed with a rare and deadly stage four Glioblastoma, a brain tumor the size of a tennis ball.
It was shocking, scary, mind-blowing. I mean I was 20. Its not very common to have cancer, especially in your head, at 20.
Doctors were aggressive. They had to be.
I had surgery. I went through 10 weeks of radiation therapy. I had oral and IV chemotherapy going at the same time as radiation, Stephanie says.
But just a few months later, the cancer was back. Stephanie got the news at Duke Medical Center's world renowned Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center.
They gave me and my mom some time alone in the room, and of course we cried and held each other and hugged. And then my doctor came back in and she was like, Stephanie, we have a couple of options.
One was a shocking, experimental study.
She told me, This has not been tested on humans yet. You would be the first human to ever receive this. As soon as she said it, she was like, Were going inject polio into your brain. I was like okay, lets do it!
In May 2012, doctors at Duke injected a modified version of the polio virus into the tumor in Stephanie's brain. A researcher there spent 20 years figuring out the virus would attach to the bad cells -- and kill them -- without harming Stephanie in any way.
Looking back, Im like oh my gosh, I cannot believe I agreed to do that so quickly. And like Ive told other people before, I knew that was God.
Incredibly, last July doctors told Stephanie her tumor was gone.
Her MRI from this January shows only scar tissue remains.
Her story is featured in this weeks People magazine.
Stephanie is cancer free as she gets ready to celebrate the 23rd birthday doctors said she'd never see.
This is still in the experimental stages. A handful of other patients are now involved. The hope is that this same treatment can someday be used to fight other cancers as well.
Stephanie is headed back to Duke this summer to work as a nursing assistant.
Good news from SC.
Ain’t it though?
Ping list worthy?
Thanks for posting .I’m from both Carolinas in a way, and I loved the story.
Who wakes up in the morning and thinks, “You know, if I modify that polio virus, I bet I can get it to kill cancer cells!!!”
Yep, it’s called innovation and I hate to think what ObamaCare is going to ultimately do to things like this.
Ping! (Thanks, Gamecock!)
I have lost a beloved niece, my cousins husband, and a long time friend to glioblastomas. This is fantastic news because a glioblastoma is a death sentence.
Thanks for the ping!
This is fabulous, thank you for posting!
Thanks for the ping! This is great news!
I contracted polio at age two (1947). It attacks the myelin sheath tissue around nerves. If the tissue in the blastoma is likened to the myelin sheath then it stands to reason it would attack that. I wonder, the girl’s age is such that she was vaccinated for polio, so the virus would not work against her tissues; but the cancer blastoma is not her tissue!
The tumor is her tissue. Mutated and reproducing out of control, but still hers.
But the mutation does not enjoy the anti=polio effect from the vaccinations, so is it really here tissue?
That’s what I was thinking.
I guess it took 20 years to figure out how to give it some degree of specificity.
Well, how would someone else’s glioblastoma get in there? It was her tissue. No idea how or why the poliovirus didn’t attack healthy tissue.
Polio attacks the healthy CNS tissue so a modified virus that attacks only mutant tissue isn’t that far fetched.
Absolutely wild idea - and I think I see why this would work.
Vaccinations work by hyping the immune system to attack the thing introduced by vaccination. Since the glioblastoma is in the brain, would the blood brain barrier be holding the immune system back from attacking the polio virus in the brain?
The virus is genetically engineered. Not only does it kill the tumor cells, but is causes the patient's immune system to attack the tumor cells also.
Being vaccinated would mean she produces antibodies to fight the virus. But if you inject the virus directly into the body, you’re asking for a fight, and some healthy tissues would be damaged in the process.
My guess is that the modified virus didn’t attack healthy cells at all. And either she wasn’t vaccinated or the antibodies didn’t recognize the modified virus.
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This is amazing news and just brightened my spirits beyond belief.
My mom died of a Glioblastoma multiforme 36 years ago. That they could even diagnos it at they time (those new fangled CT scans) was an amazing plus at the time (the used to “find” brain tumors via xray or post mortum). It was a death sentence...she lived 6 mos and one day (we swear the extra day was her way of flipping off the surgeon who kept casually proclaiming “she won’t last 6 months.) I had found my mom on the kitchen floor (I was in HS). She had had a grand mal seizure.
At the time (again long ago) it was explained to our family they glios grow slowly and once so much of healthy tissue is displaced the “symptoms” start to appear. Amazing to learn that research has brought then to curing happily one patient and I pray ALL others who have this horror.
Thanks for the posting!
It’s not often I can brighten one’s day. Glad I did so for you!
This makes sense because polio is very oriented to attacking the CNS. The real trick is how they modified it to only attack the cancerous tissue.
Future Nobel Prize winners who don't believe in "The Science is Settled"
Actually, those of us who have advanced degrees in subjects like molecular biology, microbiology, etc., have thoughts like that all the time.
I will have to see if this has been published yet in the medical literature, so I can see the exact details of what was done.
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