Thursday, August 8, 2013

Southern California’s First Real-Time MRI-Guided Gene Therapy for Brain Cancer

Clinical trial advances Toca 511 gene therapy with precise drug delivery

Using MRI navigation, Clark Chen, MD, PhD, can inject an investigatory gene therapy directly into a brain tumor.

Neurosurgeons at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center are among the first in the world to utilize real-time magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) guidance for delivery of gene therapy as a potential treatment for brain tumors. Using MRI navigational technology, neurosurgeons can inject Toca 511 (vocimagene amiretrorepvec), a novel investigational gene therapy, directly into a brain malignancy. This new approach offers a precise way to deliver a therapeutic virus designed to make the tumor susceptible to cancer-killing drugs.



“With chemotherapy, just about every human cell is exposed to the drug’s potential side-effects. By using the direct injection approach, we believe we can limit the presence of the active drug to just the brain tumor and nowhere else in the body,” said Clark Chen, MD, PhD, chief of stereotactic and radiosurgery and vice-chairman of neurosurgery at UC San Diego Health System. “With MRI, we can see the tumor light up in real time during drug infusion. The rest of the brain remains unaffected so the risk of the procedure is minimized.”

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