Early spring was a very exciting time for brain tumor and cancer research, as two major TV events lit up television sets across the U.S., bringing much needed attention to the cause and offering a glimpse at the hope that is on the horizon.
First, a March 27th episode of “60 Minutes” devoted two segments to an early-stage clinical trial at Duke University that is using a re-engineered poliovirus to treat brain cancer patients. Then, beginning on March 30th and running through April 1st, PBS aired a three-part documentary on cancer, based on Siddhartha Mukherjee’s 2010 Pulitzer Prize winning book, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer.
Both of these programs received much-deserved attention and praise.
A third major production that aired at about the same time got far less attention, but was equally as fascinating a look into the advances being made in cancer research, including brain tumors. The program was an episode of the HBO documentary TV series, VICE, called “Killing Cancer.” VICE is making the entire special report available this week for free on YouTube, and though it’s long (42 minutes), it’s highly suggested viewing.
If you want to skip straight to the brain tumor segment, it starts at 17:46. The segment follows a patient receiving an experimental treatment at MD Anderson Cancer Center, that, like the poliovirus at Duke, is trying to use a re-engineered virus – this time adenovirus, or common cold virus – to treat patients. Watch here:
Note: the National Brain Tumor Society provided some early-stage funding to Dr. Fueyo in 2007-2008 to study possible uses of the adenovirus. Additionally, Dr. Lang is part the MD Anderson team that is working on drug development as part of our Defeat GBM Research Collaborative.
This is truly an unprecedented time for brain tumor and cancer research. These programs shed a tremendous light on this truth. We look forward to working together to build on this momentum and achieve our mission.