Brain tumors stopped with new CTRC radiation process

First human trial for treating brain tumors with rhenium-186 showing results

By Ursula Pari - Anchor
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SAN ANTONIO - The first group of patients has completed their initial dose of a special nanotechnology delivery of radioactive fat particles that target cancer cells in the brain, leaving the healthy tissue mostly untouched. It’s a huge and welcomed departure from traditional radiation therapy at the Cancer Therapy and Research Center. So far, many of the test patients are seeing their tumor growth stop without the traditional side effects.

CTRC neuro-oncologist Dr. Andrew Brenner, an associate professor at UT Health Science Center, in San Antonio, is leading the study. He’s pleased to see the progress of the patients, especially 40-year-old Paul Estus. He’s had a brain tumor for years and is in his third round of treatment to stop it from growing. He’s had surgery, traditional external radiation and chemotherapy, all with differing degrees of success.

Brenner said Estus is a special case, noting, "He has a unique perspective because he has been through external beam radiation where he had to go every day, five days a week, for six weeks to receive radiation. Then he received this radiation all at once in one day."

In fact, Estus received six times the regular dose of radioactive particles, delivered internally through a special catheter capable of moving nanoparticles right to the tumor.

After all the different types of treatment he’s experienced, this is his favorite.

"Oh, it was awesome. I'm in the hospital 48 hours, then I'm out. Minimal pain, no wasted time in the hospital," Estus said.

CTRC just finished this rhenium-186 treatment with the first round of patients. Now, a new group of test subjects with bigger tumors will receive an even higher dose. The beauty of the nanotechnology is that it can deliver the damaging radiation with laser-like focus.

"Not only does it limit the amount the amount of brain that's exposed, but we can really crank up the amount we are giving because it is so selective to find those tumor cells so it can gobble them up," Brenner said.

Since there will be more stages to the testing, Brenner and the CTRC is looking to get the word out to the community about this promising new treatment so that more study patients can be secured. He will be offering a seminar next Thursday to explain the research, the findings so far, and what they are looking to do next.

Click here to see a flier for next Thursday's seminar.

KSAT 12 is watching the progress closely, in large part because our former News Director Jim Boyle died of brain cancer last year. We are supporting all efforts to find a cure, including through the Head for a Cure Race coming up on Sept. 26. For information on the race, click here. KSAT viewers can receive $7 off registration by registering with this promo code: KSATRUN (case sensitive).

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