Enemy Turns Friend Polio Virus Helps Fight Aggressive Brain Tumors, Study
Duke Scientists Develop a Breakthrough Therapy for Deadly Brain Tumors

Most of us have long believed that virus, the little creation of nature is a pathogen that does no good but only causes illnesses. How many of you know that this guy also does good on this planet? No one? Well, it’s true and I’ll tell you about it.

A recent study says that one of the world’s most dreaded viruses, the poliovirus may be now an unexpected ally to those struggling against one of the deadliest brain cancers or tumors called glioblastoma. In other words, the virus may be used to fight this deadly tumor.

Researchers at the Duke University Medical Center, where the therapy was developed, say that the treatment seems to have increased the survival days in a small group of patients with recurrent glioblastoma who underwent standard treatment but saw no results.

The initial study was performed on 61 patients with glioblastoma who received a genetically modified poliovirus or a harmless form of poliovirus. Their results were compared to the records of previous patients who had received standard treatment. 21% were still alive three years later, compared with just 4% of those who underwent standard therapy.

The researchers first removed one of the polio virus’s genes to prevent it from causing polio. They then replaced that with one of the harmless viruses called rhinovirus, which is known to cause  common cold. This engineered, or genetically modified virus was then directly injected into tumors in the patients’ brains via a tube inserted through a hole in the skull. It was found to infect and kill brain tumor cells and trigger the patient’s own immune system cells to attack the tumors, thereby helping some patients live for years longer than they normally would have.

“Glioblastoma remains a lethal and devastating disease, despite advances in surgical and radiation therapies, as well as new chemotherapy and targeted agents. There is a tremendous need for fundamentally different approaches,” said Dr. Darell D. Bigner, emeritus director of the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke and senior author of the study. “With the survival rates of this early phase of the poliovirus therapy, we are encouraged and eager to continue with the additional studies that are already underway or planned,” he added.

The findings from the phase 1 trial were published on June 26, 2018, in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented at the International Conference on Brain Tumor Research and Therapy in Norway on the same day. Currently, a phase 2 study is going on where the scientists are testing a combination of the poliovirus therapy and chemotherapy to improve the response rates. The Duke team is also testing the therapy in treating brain tumors in children. Furthermore, the therapy is also being planned to be tested on patients with breast cancer and melanoma skin cancer.

The poliovirus therapy was designated a “breakthrough therapy” by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.


  1. Hey! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using for this site? I’m getting fed up of WordPress because I’ve had problems with hackers and I’m looking at options for another platform. I would be fantastic if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

  2. Pretty great post. I simply stumbled upon your blog and wished to mention that I’ve really enjoyed surfing around your weblog posts. In any case I will be subscribing for your rss feed and I hope you write once more very soon!

  3. Awesome website you have here but I was curious about if you knew of any user discussion forums that cover the same topics talked about in this article? I’d really love to be a part of community where I can get suggestions from other experienced people that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Thank you!

  4. Please let me know if you’re looking for a article writer for your blog. You have some really good posts and I believe I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d absolutely love to write some material for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please send me an email if interested. Many thanks!

  5. I’m impressed, I must say. Seldom do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and amusing, and let me tell you, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The problem is an issue that not enough people are speaking intelligently about. Now i’m very happy that I stumbled across this during my hunt for something concerning this.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here