Suffering from incurable brain cancer, a doctor announces his remission thanks to an experimental treatment based on his own research

Suffering from incurable brain cancer, a doctor announces his remission thanks to an experimental treatment based on his own research
Suffering from incurable brain cancer, a doctor announces his remission thanks to an experimental treatment based on his own research

His chances of survival were very low, if not non-existent. In June 2023, Australian professor Richard Scolyer was diagnosed with IDH wild-type glioblastoma, an incurable brain cancer. Most patients die within a year. And yet: the professor has just announced the good results of his latest scan: there is no recurrence of his tumor!

”I had a brain scan last Thursday, looking for recurring complications of glioblastoma. I found out yesterday that there is still no sign of a recurrence. I couldn’t be happier,” he said on his social networks.

A world first

How is it possible ? Thanks to an experimental treatment. Richard Scolyer became the world’s first brain cancer patient to benefit from combined pre-operative immunotherapy, as well as to receive a vaccine personalized to his tumor.

It must be said that Richard Scolyer is no stranger to laboratories. He had already conducted extensive research on this type of treatment before being overtaken by the disease himself. And it has proven to be very effective in treating skin cancer: his work now saves the lives of half of melanoma patients, compared to 10% previously. The doctor and one of his colleagues were also elected “Australians of the Year” in January 2024 for their progress in this field.

When his illness was announced, Richard Scolyer and his team naturally decided to treat his brain cancer by following their research into the treatment of skin cancer. A risky bet but visibly successful for the Australian.

However, the treatment was not easy. Richard Scolyer faced seizures, liver problems and pneumonia, before he began to feel healthier.

If there is no longer any trace of the tumor, the doctor does not want to declare victory too soon. He recalls that the median time before a recurrence of grade 4 brain tumor is six months. “It certainly doesn’t mean my brain cancer is cured… But it’s nice to know it hasn’t come back yet. So I still have some time to enjoy my life with my wife Katie and my three wonderful children,” he told the BBC.

Enthusiasm from the medical world

Richard Scolyer’s results arouse great enthusiasm among the medical world. Researchers hope that the professor and his team’s research will lead to better care for the many people diagnosed with brain tumors each year.

For his part, Richard Scolyer hopes that this experimental treatment will soon be the subject of clinical trials.

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