The latest advances in treatment

New Horizons in Brain Cancer Treatment: Collaboration between Neurosurgery and Immunotherapy

March 27, 2024
professor Melih Bozkurt

Brain cancer is a serious challenge in modern medicine and has one of the lowest survival rates of all cancers. In 2019 alone, brain cancer was diagnosed in over 350 thousand people worldwide, and incidence of the disease has been increasing ever since. Therefore, the search for innovative approaches and techniques to improve patient prognosis is crucial.

A combination of complex neurosurgery with innovative immunotherapy methods could be such an approach. Biotherapy International collaborates with Dr. Melih Bozkurt, Head of the Neurosurgery Department at Memorial Hospital in Istanbul, Turkey, who has been performing complex brain surgeries for more than 20 years. This collaboration is of utmost importance: it aims to provide specialized care and implement advanced methods for treating malignant brain tumors.

Why don’t conventional treatment methods significantly improve patient prognosis? The human brain has a natural protective barrier (the blood-brain barrier), which impedes the penetration of chemotherapy drugs and limits the possibilities of traditional therapy. But where drugs are ineffective, viruses come to the rescue — microscopic living organisms that can penetrate tumors.

At Biotherapy International, we use oncolytic viruses —harmless to humans, viral strains modified to destroy cancer cells. They can penetrate the blood-brain barrier through intranasal (via the nose) or intravenous administration, but are most effective when  directly introduced into the tumor by injection.

The advantage of this procedure is that it can be performed immediately after brain tumor removal surgery, significantly increasing the chances of recovery. However, if the patient has already undergone surgery or tumor resection is impossible due to its location or size, the oncolytic virus can be introduced through an Ommaya reservoir — a device with a tube leading into one of the brain ventricles.

Each patient with brain cancer presents a complex and unique case. We believe that the combination of advanced immunotherapy and neurosurgical methods will provide a chance to extend patients’ lives. Because only by going beyond the existing treatment paradigm, can outstanding results be achieved.

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