Brain Cancer & New Treatment Options

At any given moment, there are about 700,000 individuals with brain or spinal cord tumors in the United States, and about 140,000 of those individuals have malignant tumors – cancer.

Treatment options for brain cancer patients have been limited, but recent discoveries have proven effective in developing new treatments.

“Over the last maybe forty years or so, the new treatment options have been limited to maybe a handful of them,” says Vinay Puduvalli, MBBS, director of the Division of Neuro-Oncology at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James). “Only in the last five to ten years have we found new treatments that may actually make an impact on these kinds of cancers.”

Despite these advances, survival in brain cancer patients has increased by only two to three months on the average. That’s why brain cancer experts at the OSUCCC – James are working together to improve outcomes for patients.

“We provide a multidisciplinary team expertise to our patients because we believe that no single specialty can provide the kind of care that our patients need,” says Puduvalli. “We believe that there is no such thing as a routine cancer for our patients. We believe in personalizing their treatment so we bring together neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists and neuro-oncologists.”

Researchers at the OSUCCC – James are conducting new studies and clinical trials to better understand brain cancers and develop more effective treatment options.

Currently, researchers led by Puduvalli are conducting a clinical trial that reviews standards of brain cancer care and aims to improve upon them. The trial is evaluating a drug that prevents blood vessels from growing into a tumor.

“This is an established standard of care, but it doesn’t work for all the patients,” Puduvalli says. “We’re trying to find out how we can get those patients who did not benefit from this treatment to respond to it.”

In addition, investigators are approaching the trial in a novel way, saving time and effort while drawing conclusions and moving forward quicker than methods of the past would have allowed.

“I am fortunate to be the national principal investigator of this study,” Puduvalli says.