Henry Ford to Start Trial for Aggressive Brain Tumors

March 13, 2009

DETROIT - Henry Ford Hospital’s Hermelin Brain Tumor Center is the first U.S. hospital to start a new clinical trial for Toca 511 & Toca FC, a combination therapy under investigation for high-grade glioma (HGG), a fast growing, brain cancer that often recurs even after surgery, radiation treatment and chemotherapy.

The investigational treatment combines Toca 511 (vocimagene amiretrorepvec), a biologic drug, with Toca FC, an extended-release tablet containing the antibiotic flucytosine.

“The combination of Toca 511 and flucytosine has been shown in mouse studies to destroy brain cancer tumors, leave healthy tissue unharmed, and extend survival in most animals,” says Steven Kalkanis, M.D., co-director of the Hermelin Brain Tumor Center.

Glioma is very difficult to treat successfully because, rather than being a clearly defined mass, the tumor blends with healthy brain tissue and sends out tentacles of microscopic cancer cells.

Standard treatment begins with surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible, followed by irradiating the brain, and chemotherapy in an attempt to kill any remaining cancer cells. Even after these extreme measures, the cancerous tumor often returns.

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