Research grants awarded to SA’s Cancer Therapy and Research Center

In In The News by Barbara Jacoby

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From: ksat.com

The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas just gave a jump start to a number of researchers at the Cancer Therapy and Research Center, including a $2 million grant for promising brain cancer radiation therapy.

It uses nano-technology to help deliver large doses of tumor-shrinking radiation to the brain, without affected normal brain tissue as harshly as conventional treatments.

CTRC Neuro-Oncologist Dr. Andrew Brenner will administer the first human clinical trial, which up til now has only been an academic endeavor.

He is lining up his first patient to try NanoTX Therapeutics efforts to insert radioactive isotopes into tiny fat particles to be delivered into a brain tumor.

“By trapping them there, instead of the radiation getting taken up by the body, they actually get retained in the cancer cells themselves,” he said. “The cancer cells actually gobble up these fat globules and at the same time they are gobbling up the radiation particles.”

As a result, the normal cells of the brain are spared much of the high dose radiation.

The first patient to try out this therapy has already been identified: 55-year old David Williams got the news in September that he had a brain tumor. His eyesight has suffered and he said he’s lost so much strength, he can no longer work.

It’s a typical reaction to a diagnosis, which can be devastating as patients lose their ability to think and move in small increments.

“It changes everybody’s life,” Williams said. “It took my life completely over.”

He said it’s been difficult for his family as well, but knowing he’ll be the first to try this nano-therapy which could perhaps spare his healthy brain areas any more damage is promising.

“I think it’s going to work, I really do. I hear these voices in me saying it’s going to work,” he said.

The grant is just one of several given by CPRIT to the CTRC. Monies were also awarded to study Ewing’s Sarcoma, development of a drug for lymphoma, a study of the elimination of chemotherapy side effects, and research into resveratrol effect on prostate cancer.

The Cancer Therapy and Research Center at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is a NCI Designated Cancer Center.  For more information, visit www.ctrc.net.