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Exclusive LVHN clinical trial brings hope to patients with recurrent glioblastoma

Learn more about this promising advanced therapy for hard-to-treat brain cancer.

Glioblastoma is one of the most aggressive forms of brain cancer. These highly malignant tumors are also extremely hard to treat, in part because they create their own blood supply, which helps them grow fast and spread quickly.

Most patients undergo a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. But these treatments usually only slow tumor growth. Glioblastomas often recur, leaving patients with few treatment options.

To help fight this devastating disease, Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) is actively involved in testing novel therapies that may prove effective against recurrent glioblastoma.

Clinical trial offers chance

One promising treatment is currently being offered in a new clinical trial called CAPTIVE. Lehigh Valley Hospital–Cedar Crest is the only hospital in the region participating in the elite trial, which is sponsored by biotechnology company DNAtrix Therapeutics in conjunction with Merck.

LVHN patients ages 18 and older who have been diagnosed with a first or second recurrence of glioblastoma may be eligible to participate, according to LVHN neuro-oncologist Tara Morrison, MD, of LVPG Hematology Oncology. Morrison is one of a few fellowship-trained neuro-oncologists in Pennsylvania and is overseeing the trial with LVHN neurologic surgeon P. Mark Li, MD, PhDLVPG Neurosurgery.

Immunotherapy using modified cold virus

CAPTIVE patients receive one injection of a modified adenovirus (common cold virus) into the tumor. The specially programmed virus multiplies, infecting and killing tumor cells but leaving healthy cells alone.

“The adenovirus has been modified to replicate only in tumors with a defective retinoblastoma gene, which is almost universally defective in glioblastoma,” says Morrison.

Patients also receive infusions of Keytruda (pembrolizumab) to stimulate the immune system to kill more cancer cells. Initial research of the virus injection has shown encouraging results.

Information for potential study participants

CAPTIVE has strict inclusion criteria. Patients must have a single glioblastoma tumor that’s in one half of the brain only and not near any ventricles (interconnected cavities filled with cerebrospinal fluid). Patients must also have adequate liver function and blood counts, and be free of autoimmune diseases and infections. Those who have undergone chemotherapy or radiation must wait several weeks from their last treatment.

To learn about participation in the CAPTIVE trial or make an appointment, call 888-402-LVHN.