Scan could match up brain tumors, drugs
Differing patient responses to drugs make brain cancer hard to treat, but a new way to analyze brain tumors could help pinpoint patients who will benefit from a newly-approved drug.Posted — Updated
Bronnie McNabb underwent surgery, radiation and chemotherapy to fight brain tumors, but he always developed new ones.
A new way to analyze brain scans, developed by researchers at the University of California-Los Angeles, could help determine which tumors might respond to Avastin.
"What we're looking at is the movement of water molecules within the tumor," explained Dr. Whitney Pope, director of radiology resident research at UCLA. "And what we've found is that tumors that have a lot of water molecules due to the death of cells within the tumor, those are tumors that respond well to Avastin."
Glioblastoma strikes about 12,000 Americans a year. When every day counts, knowing if tumors will respond to certain drugs is critical.
"I've gone several months beyond what they told me would be my outside length of time to survive," McNabb said.
Researchers hope that one day, they'll be able to tell exactly which tumors will respond to Avastin and other cancer-fighting drugs.