Novel Superselective Intraaterial Cerebral Approach Using Avastin Yields Successful Results

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Dr. Jared Knopman, Dr. Ronald Scheff, and Dr. John Boockvar

Two neurosurgeons at the Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center are pioneering an exciting new approach for the treatment of recurrent malignant brain tumors. As reported in this New York Times article published on November 17, 2009, their novel approach to treating these resistant brain tumors is yielding successful results. Follow-up MRI imaging on the treated patients has shown that their tumors have shown a dramatic response to the treatment.

Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) is an aggressive brain tumor that invariably recurs despite the best efforts of standard treatment, which combines removal of the tumor with radiation and chemotherapy. With standard chemo treatment, the drugs enter the patient’s body intravenously, resulting in toxicity to the patient. Yet until now the body’s natural defense, called the blood-brain barrier, has been an obstacle to the effective direct delivery of chemotherapy treatment for brain tumors, as it blocks the drugs from leaving the bloodstream and entering the tumor itself. Dr. Boockvar and Dr. Howard Riina decided to devise a new approach, one that would provide a much more efficient delivery system to target the tumor directly via the arteries deep in the brain. Using a super-selective microcatheter, a medication is used to first disrupt the blood-brain barrier then directly target the brain tumor with the drug Avastin. This groundbreaking development is sparing patients from adverse drug toxicity and igniting interest in the field of Interventional Neuroradiology (INR).

The first phase of their clinical trial is underway and their first case will be published this month in the Journal of Experimental Therapeutics and Oncology.

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