Promising clinical trial gives family with brain cancer patient hope

Head for the Cure 5K takes place Saturday

By Ursula Pari - Anchor

SAN ANTONIO - As runners get ready for this year’s Head for the Cure 5K, hundreds of local brain tumor patients are also gearing up to receive new treatments. Finding a cure is tough, but one promising trial at the UT Health Cancer Center is giving one local family hope.

Some of the clinical trials are part of where the money from Head for the Cure goes.

Rosalinda Gonzales can thank her husband for getting her brain cancer diagnosed in time. In July 2016, he had had enough of her forgetting even the simplest of things.

“Asking my husband the same things over and over again, and he would say, ‘You just asked me.’ Then he said, ‘It's time to go to the doctor,’” Gonzales said.

Doctors found a glioblastoma, a brain tumor the size of a peach. After chemotherapy and radiation, Gonzales appeared better, and then the tumor began to grow again.

“This is a side effect of the drugs. It reduces her ability to produce oils, so it dries out her hands,” said Dr. Andrew Brenner, with UT Health San Antonio.

Brenner has put Gonzales on the next level of treatment, a clinical trial called TVB 2640. He said it’s kind of like a tumor diet. It forces the tumor to shrink because it has lost the ability to have fat.

“Tumor cells are able to make fatty acids. So we are turning off the gene that makes these fatty acids so that the cancer cells can't rely on the fatty acids being produced by themselves and they are not getting a good supply from the blood vessel supply,” Brenner said.

The treatment is a combination of starvation factors, which appear to be working.

"She has had a very significant reduction in tumor size and our hope is that that is going to keep on going for a long time,” Brenner said.

Aside from causing dry and peeling hands and feet, TVB 2640 has very few side effects. It’s in phase two of its clinical trial, which is only underway in San Antonio.

For more information on the Head for the Cure 5K taking place Saturday, click here.

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