WARNING: Get a box of Kleenex before you read this post! I am NOT joking.
A few weeks ago I wrote a post on how scientists are using a genetically modified herpes simplex-1 virus to attack metastatic melanoma (an oncolytic, ie kills tumor cells, virus). The results of their clinical trials blew my mind.
Now 13-years-old, Evan was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma in June 2008 at the age of 11…
… He’s endured 28 rounds of radiation, and 52-weeks of a phase III chemotherapy protocol. After a brief three-month remission, the cancer returned in December 2009. Since then Evan has undergone several months of a phase II chemo, a phase I chemo trial in St. Louis, and made history by becoming the first participant in a phase I virus trial in Cincinnati.
The tumor is in his brain, so heres what they had to do to get the genetically modified HSV-1 into it:
As Steve posted, yesterday’s procedure went exactly as planned. The interventional radiology team inserted a long, thin needle through Evan’s right cheek, maneuvering through bones, blood vessels, etc. to reach the tumor in his head. They chose an area that showed a large amount of cancerous activity on the scans and injected the virus, pulled back on the needle and released more virus into a second nearby location.
…Evan had quite a bit of pain throughout the night, but the medical team here has been excellent and very responsive to his needs. He’s resting comfortably now and if his pain stays managed we’ll be discharged and return to our hotel later today.
May the Force be with you, kid.