According to a story from yahoo.finance.com, the medical technology company iCAD, Inc. recently held a webinar featuring several brain tumor experts that discussed the potential of an approach called intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT), which is delivered using a system called Xoft. These scientists from around the world have all played a role in clinical trials that have been testing this treatment approach.
Brain tumors are an area of critical unmet need. Glioblastoma, the most common type of brain cancer in adults, is highly resistant to current treatments and has a very poor survival rate. Most patients die within a year of getting the disease.
The IORT approach has already been used primarily in the treatment of breast cancer, and ongoing research is evaluating its use in other cancers as well.
Dr. Santosh Kesari, Director of Neuro-oncology, Chair and Professor, Department of Translational Neurosciences at the Saint John’s Cancer Institute in Santa Monica, CA, has been the lead investigator in a trial called GLIOX which has evaluated IORT and the Xoft system for glioblastoma following surgical resection of the tumor. This trial is expected to begin the recruitment phase soon and will be a major test of the approach for treating this highly resistant form of cancer. It will compare treatment with IORT/Xoft plus bevacizumab versus external radiation beam therapy plus bevacizumab.
Dr. Alexey Krivoshapkin, Professor, Head of Neurosurgery branch of Neurology and Neurosurgery School, Neurosurgeon at the European Medical Center in Moscow, Russia, was the lead investigator in the first study which evaluated this approach in glioblastoma. It compared IORT and Xoft to a control arm of patients that were treated with conventional external beam radiation therapy. Following the study conclusion, four of 15 patients had survived after treatment with IORT, whereas none in the control arm were alive at that juncture.
Dr. Michael Howard who is the Director of Oncology Services and Chief of Medical Physics at the Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at the Parkridge Medical Center in Chattanooga, TN, was also present at the webinar, and his organization is also conducting an independent trial of this treatment for glioblastoma. This study is currently recruiting patients.
The approach is being considered for other types of brain tumors, such as metastases from Ewing’s sarcoma. Only the results of these ongoing trials will decisively determine if IORT/Xoft can be a major advancement for treating brain tumors.