Under the guidance of Drs. Richard Anderson and Jeffrey Bruce, a brand new treatment method has been used to successfully treat two children with the deadliest kind of brain tumor, diffuse intrinsic brainstem glioma (DIPG).
This type of tumor is fast growing and now accounts for the majority of brain-tumor-related deaths in children. DIPG is particularly difficult to treat because of its location deep among the most vital structures of the brain. Further, the dosage of chemotherapy necessary to kill these cancer cells is too toxic for the body.
The best doctors have been able to offer these patients is a lower dose of chemotherapy along with radiation. Both of which, for the most part, just ease their symptoms. Newer, more effective therapeutic modalities are desperately needed for children with DIPG.
For the first time, at the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, Drs. Anderson and Bruce used convection enhanced delivery (CED) to deliver the chemotherapy agent topotecan directly into the tumors of two pediatric patients.
CED uses stereotactic brain imaging to correctly place ultra thin catheters deep into the brain with minimal disturbance to the surrounding tissue. In this way, doctors are able to deliver a higher dose of the drug exactly where its needed and avoid the system wide toxicity of conventionally delivered chemotherapy.
The children are the first two pediatric patients with DIPG enrolled in a phase I clinical trial. Anderson and Bruce are optimistic that their work will establish CED as a safe and effective new treatment for children with these deadly tumors.
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