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An inactivated form of the poliovirus used to treat recurrent brain tumors is showing what researchers called encouraging long-term survival in a Phase 1 clinical trial published Tuesday.

The authors reported that 21 percent of patients were still alive three years after the recurrence of glioblastoma, an aggressive and quickly lethal form of brain cancer that is stubbornly resistant to treatment — even the new crop of immunotherapies have proven to be ineffective. Against that bleak backdrop, the early results suggest the experimental poliovirus therapy, invented at Duke Cancer Institute, has some promise.


There are enough caveats in the study design and weaknesses in the new data to raise doubts, however, about whether the therapy — featured twice already on the CBS news show “60 Minutes” — will live up to the hype. A definitive answer will come only after larger clinical trials.

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