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First human polio virus clinical trial raises hope for curing cancer

Written By | Apr 29, 2014

SAN DIEGO, April 29, 2014 — A non-lethal form of the polio virus may prove to be a viable treatment option or even a complete cure for malignant brain tumors and other forms of cancer.

Matthias Gromeier, MD

While conducting polio virus research in 1998, Dr. Matthias Gromeier of Duke University Medical Center discovered by accident that the polio virus could attack cancer cells.

Based on those findings, researchers now theorize that those who have been immunized against polio may possess immunity against the polio virus, thereby benefiting from its ability to attack cancerous tumors in the human body.

The implications for successfully treating malignant brain tumors, prostate cancer, melanoma, and other forms of cancer gives rise to great hope for finding a cure for this treacherous disease.

According to the American Cancer Society, it is estimated that in 2014, 1,665,540 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the United States.

Further, cancer is considered the second leading cause of death leading to the loss of 1 out of every 4 American lives.

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The rates for developing cancer significantly increase with advancing age, especially after the age of 50.

Stephanie Lipscomb, a South Carolina college student, has an amazing story of surviving deadly brain cancer which is just short of miraculous.

Diagnosed with stage-4 glioblastoma, a highly deadly and aggressive form of brain cancer, Lipscomb became the first human to participate in a polio virus clinical trial.

Plagued by severe headaches at the age of 20, Lipscomb’s malignant brain tumor was diagnosed and found to be the size of a tennis ball.

Given only five years to live, standard treatment options including surgery, radiation and chemotherapy failed to eradicate her glioblastoma.

Lipscomb bravely agreed to Dr. Gromeirer’s FDA-approved polio virus clinical trial as a last attempt to extend her life. Lipscomb said, “I just knew this wasn’t the end of my story,” published in People Magazine.

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The 6 1/2 hour polio virus treatment underwent by Lipscomb, known as PVS-RIPO, required the drilling of a small hole into her skull followed by insertion of a catheter.

Injections of the polio virus were carried by the catheter directly to the location of the brain tumor.

Lipscomb’s tumor shrunk to the size of a pea, and a series of scans 14 months following the clinical trial treatment have shown no sign of subsequent tumor growth.

According to Dr. Gromeier, in People Magazine, “We have nothing to compare this to.”

Though Dr. Gromeier’s ground-breaking success with Lipscomb’s treatment is exciting and promising, researchers caution that more clinical trials will be needed and poliovirus therapy is in its early stages.

Dr. Gromeier’s non-lethal polio virus therapy took 16 years of development to go from testing in the laboratory to his first viable clinical human trial.

Lipscomb is very excited to be going on with her life following her treatment, and is quoted in People saying: “My intuition tells me, I’m going to be fine.”

She will soon be given the opportunity to give-back to others in her upcoming role as a nursing assistant for the pediatric oncology unit at Duke University Medical Center.

For further information about the poliovirus human trials or brain cancer, contact the following organizations:

Duke University Medical Center
Duke’s Preston Robert Tish Brain Tumor Center


American Brain Tumor Association
Phone: 1-800-886-2282


American Cancer Society
Phone: 1-800-227-2345


National Cancer Institute
Phone: 1-800-422-6237


National Brain Tumor Society
Phone: 1-800-770-8287


Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!

Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, is a health care provider of over 30 years. As a featured “Communities Digital News” columnist, LifeCycles with Laurie Edwards-Tate emphasizes healthy aging and maintaining independence, while delighting and informing its readers. Laurie is a recognized expert in home and community-based, long-term care services, and is also an educator.

In addition to writing for “Communities Digital News,” Laurie is the President and CEO of her firm, At Your Home Familycare, which serves persons of all ages who are disabled and infirm with a variety of non-medical, in-home care and concierge services.

Copyright © 2014 by At Your Home Familycare

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Laurie Edwards-Tate

Since 1984, Laurie Edwards-Tate has served as President and Founder of At Your Home Familycare, a non-medical Home Care Aide Organization, serving seniors, disabled, infirm and children. Laurie is Board of Director 2018 (elected), Palomar Health; Executive Board Member; Chair Board Human Resources Committee; Member of Audits & Compliance Committee; Community Relations Committee.