News & Blog

60 Minutes Joins the Fight Against Brain Tumors (Updated)

This past Sunday (3/29) the esteemed weekly news program “60 Minutes” on CBS aired an in-depth story (two segments – which is rare for “60 Minutes”) on a potential new treatment for glioblastoma multiforme.


Dr. Darell Bigner speaking at the 2014 National Brain Tumor Society Summit

The segment followed brain cancer patients in a Duke University clinical trial of a therapy that uses a re-engineered polio virus to kill cancer cells.

If you did not get a chance to watch the segment now, we highly encourage you to do so. You can view the entire episode (along with some extras!) here.

It was very encouraging to see the unique opportunities and challenges in treating a difficult cancer like GBM highlighted by such a prominent national news outlet. And the results from this early clinical trial certainly appear promising. However, it is important to note that the trial is still in Phase 1 and the treatment has only been given to a small number of patients. Stay tuned for a forthcoming post that explores more the state of this and other promising clinical research.

We should also note that the National Brain Tumor Society provided early funding to Dr. Matthias Gromeier who first began experimenting with this treatment approach (and who is featured prominently in the article).


Dr. John Sampson speaks at the 2013 National Brain Tumor Society ART Conference

Also heavily involved in developing this treatment are Drs. John Sampson and Darell Bigner (amongst others), both of whom have received funding from NBTS previously.

In fact, Dr. Bigner, Director of the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center and the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation Institute at Duke University and Leader of the Neuro-Oncology Program of the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center, was the 2014 recipient of the National Brain Tumor Society’s Feldman Founders Award for his decades of outstanding contributions and invaluable impact on the field of brain tumor research. You can watch Dr. Bigner’s acceptance speech here. Dr. Bigner is also a member of the National Brain Tumor Society’s Strategic Scientific Advisory Council for our Defeat GBM Research Collaborative. And Dr. Sampson was kind enough to dedicate his earlier this year to help explain immunotherapy for our readers in a two-part Q&A.



  • Susan Albin Salinas says:

    My 26 year old has GBM. Given one to five years to live. How can he get into these trials?

  • Billie says:

    Wonderful treatment news! I lost my mother in 2007 at the age of 58 to GBM. It stole her life in a matter of months.

  • Lori says:

    My husband has three tuners in his brain, it started in his lung which they removed part of. Then Chemo and Radiation treatments and it came back… He also has a tumor on his aderal gland. He is only 67 I hate hate Cancer I wish I could take it away.

    • Susan Albin Salinas says:

      My heart breaks for you Lori. My prayers and thoughts are with your husband and you as a care giver. I know it is hard. Keep fighting the fight. “Say it, fight it, cure it!”>

  • Debbie Starling says:

    My husband died in 2010 after fighting for 2.5 years with a GBM!! Watching the segment made me cry for the potential that he might have had and we as a family might have had as well. On the other hand I am grateful that there is finally some good news regarding this horrid disease. If it does turn out to be hereditary I have 4 children that may benefit from what they are finding today!

    • RJ says:

      I’m so sorry about your husband. My dad was diagnosed recently with GBM. He had surgery and is currently having radiation treatments and taking chemo orally. Right now, he feels great. Of course all my mom and brother and I can think about is how long will the tumor re growth be stopped. This is such a horrible disease. We hope maybe he can be part of the Duke trail when the recurrence happens. Do mind if I ask how old your husband was? My dad is 71, and I know that’s considered older than the typical GBM patient. I hope that his age won’t be held against him when he applies for trials. He’s in excellent physical shape, and had never had any illness other than the occasional cold until this.

      • Debbie Starling says:

        RJ my husband was only 62 when he was diagnosed and he did very well on the Temodar and the radiation…even was able to continue to work. He installed commercial park and playground equipment so it was not easy labor. He lasted a year on the Temodar and then they noticed a growth. We then went to Birmingham, AL for a clinical trial that kept it at bay for another year. However, on April 16 2010 the change in his eyes told me it was once again back. He was on an avastin drip at that time and he died 4 months later. He fought it for 2.5 years on a diagnosis that said 3 mos.-12 mos. See if he could qualify for the injection of Polio Virus? Another virus I heard they might be using is the herpes virus. My husband was in great shape too and I think they consider all that when they make their recommendations. If your dad is otherwise in good health I think they will probably try some things. Good luck

  • Kathy says:

    I just turned 50 and I had my second brain tumor removed in Nov. This one Glioblastoma. I’ve done radiation and currently still doing chemo(temodar). They gave me 18 months to live with treatment. I was referred to Duke but they denied me. I still have a 12 year old daughter at home. So I’m trying to stay positive and we pray together everyday. I’m so sorry for anybody who is going thru this.

  • Geri McWilliams says:

    My sister died in 2014 after a 20 month battle. She was only 54 years old. I watched this last year and cried straight thru the program. I couldn’t bring myself to watch the updated show last night on GBM!! The “what if’s” were way to many. I am truly grateful they that are on the right road and fast tracked to finding a cure for this monster. And pray everyday that another family doesn’t have to live this life. It’s a monster of a disease and needs much more attention then it gets. Like someone else said if it does (God willing it doesn’t) turn out to be hereditary at least then someone will benefit from the research.

  • Stuart Kingman says:

    I was diagnosed with a GBM at age 38, I am now (medically) retired and turn 56 this year (18 years since diagnosis). I was given 3-6 months. Not able to find the expiration date on my birth certificate, or justify committing “passive suicide”, I demanded the most aggressive radiation, surgery, and chemo procedures possible at that time. I have several cognitive deficits around most of which I am able to navigate. I follow up regularly with my oncologist, neurologist, and annual MRI’s.
    Thanks to my loving wife and 3 kids, extended family, and a dedicated medical team (Kaiser Permanente, and Stanford University), I am very fortunate to still be on “the green side of the grass”, and to have seen all three of my then very young (all under 5) children grow up and graduate from college, and continue on to successful careers.
    My medical team(s) consider me a miracle, I consider myself blessed,
    Remember: 1. NEVER GIVE UP. ” It ain’t over ’till it’s over”.
    2. Laughter IS the BEST medicine.
    3. Mind, Body, and Spirit. All three are required for survival.
    3. NEVER complain about getting older – too many are denied the privilege.

    I hope to see many more future successes for all those diagnosed with this insidious disease. My prayers go out to all every day.

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