SAN ANTONIO – Local doctors are spearheading the search for a breakthrough for the exact type of brain cancer Senator John McCain revealed he’s fighting.
A number of clinical trials to treat and eventually cure glioblastoma are now underway at UT Health Cancer Center.
Local patient Vannette Bollier arrived for a check-up appointment the day after news broke of the Senator’s diagnosis.
"If it's a good day I can talk to you on the phone or sitting here and never miss a word,” she says. “And if it's a bad day, you don't understand what I'm saying."
Today is most definitely a good day. She treasures those more now after hearing the words she wasn’t prepared for, on a very bad day last fall.
"They've done a biopsy and you do have a brain tumor,” Bollier remembers being told.
Brain cancer specialist Dr. Andrew Brenner showed us an X-ray of glioblastoma, a cancer he says is relentless.
"You can see that there was a cavity here from where the surgery was done the first time. And the tumor is starting to come back,” the doctor explains.
He’s leading a clinical trial testing a combination of Avastin, a drug already used to treat several cancers, with a new drug. He expects results of how well the new treatment works later this year.
[Patients interested in participating in UT Health's brain cancer studies can call (210) 450-5798 for more information.]
The trial is being funded by a grant from the Food and Drug Administration, and is now in the spotlight with Senator McCain’s startling diagnosis.
"Obviously we'd like to see additional funding for research,” Dr. Brenner says. “This is an incurable tumor. And we should be doing everything we possibly can to try and reverse that trend."
Back in the exam room, Bollier is determined to beat the odds - one good day at a time.
"I hope that anyone who has to go through this realizes that you have time to enjoy your family and everything else about your life,” she says.
By EMILY BAUCUM