UAB awarded grant to use herpes virus as treatment for tumors in new area of brain

UAB awarded grant to use herpes virus as treatment for tumors in new area of brain
Herpes virus used as treatment for brain tumors (Source: UAB)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - It’s a story that got a lot of attention on social media when we first reported it: the herpes virus - yes, the same one responsible for cold sores - is being used to treat brain tumors in children.

We first spoke with Dr. Gregory Friedman, an associate professor at UAB, last year when UAB and Children’s of Alabama became the only ones in the world to do this type of herpes virus research in brain tumor patients.

Results from that study show that it's safe and tolerable for patients.

And now, Dr. Friedman has been awarded a $750,000 grant from the FDA to treat tumors in a new area of the brain: the back of the brain.

“It’s a very exciting study, and it’s a big deal for Children’s of Alabama,” said Dr. James Johnston, Associate Professor of Neurosugery at UAB. “This is the first time it’s ever been done anywhere in any children in the world.”

“Most people are surprised when they hear that that’s the virus that we’re using, but it does a great job of killing cancer cells and it can be easily modified so it can’t harm normal cells, and importantly, in the unlikely event that we needed to, there are actually treatments for that virus,” said Dr. Friedman.

Dr. Johnson said that area of the back of the brain is where doctors see many more tumors in children.

To learn more about the trial, and how to qualify for the study, click here.

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