CANCER, NEUROLOGY & NEUROSURGERY

Treating Glioblastoma With a Novel Gene Therapy

Sep. 21, 2021 - Katie McCallum

Despite being told his glioblastoma had resisted treatment and grown back, that he had only weeks to live, 16-year-old Alex Gross wasn't ready to give up.

Gross' family heard the story of Ed McCumber, a fellow Myrtle Beach resident whose aggressive glioblastoma was successfully conquered with an experimental gene therapy developed at Houston Methodist.

The family traveled to Houston so Alex could see the neurosurgeon who treated McCumber's brain cancer — Dr. David Baskin, director of the Kenneth R. Peak Brain and Pituitary Treatment & Research Center at Houston Methodist.

After surgically removing Alex's tumor, Dr. Baskin and his team administered the therapy, an injection of a genetically engineered cold virus that that attacks the remaining cancer cells.

"When you're doing research with something this powerful, you can't find out how effective something is unless you're constantly pushing the envelope," says Dr. Baskin.

In the video above, he explains how this novel cancer gene therapy works and what Alex's case taught him.