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In Battle Against Cancer, New Trial Fights Fire With Fire

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(Photo by Ed Fischer) Lynne Adkins
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By Lynne Adkins

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A study at Jefferson Hospital for Neuroscience will use tumor cells as a treatment.

A glioma tumor grows quickly and is deadly, according to Dr. David Andrews, co-director of the Brain Tumor Center of the Kimmel Cancer Center. Treatment for the malignant tumor includes surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, but most often, treatment fails.

So, Dr. Andrews is trying something different: harvesting cells from the brain tumor for use in treatment.

Andrews says step one will be surgery to take cells from the brain tumor. “We then take the tumor cells and treat them with a drug that will induce cell death. The drug itself actually interacts with the immune system.”

Those cells are then surgically placed in the stomach for a brief time to work with the immune system to attack the malignant brain tumor.

“The goal, of course, is cure. I mean, to marshall the immune system in perpetuity to have the body always under surveillance for this tumor and if it detects any recurrance of this tumor to eliminate it.”

The trial begins early in the new year.