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Philadelphia-Area Neurosurgeons Conducting Clinical Trial to Treat Patients With Glioblastoma, an Aggressive Brain Tumor

Intra-Arterial Chemotherapy Threads Catheter Through Body and Releases Drug Directly to Tumor Site

For patients with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain tumor, a novel clinical trial from neurosurgeons at the Global Neurosciences Institute is providing a novel way to attack the cancer.

The new treatment, called Intra-Arterial Chemotherapy, or IAC, delivers chemotherapy through the femoral artery in the leg, then through the body, and into the brain, where the chemotherapy is released in blood vessels directly feeding the site of tumor. IAC procedures are being conducted at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden, New Jersey, a GNI partner hospital.

The clinical trial could aid patients like Sen. John McCain, who was recently diagnosed with glioblastoma, a type of tumor that starts in the brain and is highly malignant.

“Despite 50 years of treating this disease, we’ve made no significant improvement in outcomes. The standard of care has changed little in decades and simply does not work. There is no dancing around this,” said Erol Veznedaroglu, MD, FACS, FAANS, FAHA, director of the Global Neurosciences Institute (GNI). “This is a novel way to deliver chemotherapy to the tumor. We need to start thinking about new approaches.”

The procedure allows the chemotherapy to attack the tumor without the usual side effects of conventional chemotherapy, which is absorbed systemically throughout the entire body. As a result, higher doses of the chemotherapy reach the site of the tumor.

The treatment is provided to patients who already have undergone surgery to remove the tumor.

Highly trained neurosurgeons deliver the chemotherapy to precise areas of the brain using sophisticated brain imaging technology.

The study has received FDA and IRB approval. GNI neurosurgeons perform both conventional  and minimally invasive, endovascular neurosurgery at partner hospitals in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. IAC procedures are being conducted at the hybrid operating suite recently created at Lourdes (video tour –

The hybrid suite at Lourdes has a biplane angiography system, a type of digital X-ray that constructs a real-time, three-dimensional roadmap of blood vessels leading to the brain and deep within it, as well as the vessels of the head and neck.

Dr. Veznedaroglu said the number of patients in the trial so far is small. In the three patients who have completed at least four rounds of treatment in the study, reduction in tumor size occurred, and the patients and families reported a better quality of life. While these findings are positive, there currently is no cure for glioblastoma.






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