OMRF scientists work to battle brain cancer

Tuesday, May 27th 2008, 9:27 pm
By: News 9

By Alex Cameron, NEWS 9

Medical researchers in Oklahoma are working on a drug to battle Sen. Ted Kennedy's form of brain cancer.

The Massachusetts senator's was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor earlier this month.

"All we know in our family is when doctors give us terrible news, we don't believe it," said Joseph Kennedy, the senator's son. "We just go out and fight it and we've managed to defy the odds every time, so we're going to work and try to do that again."

Dr. Robert Floyd of Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation said the fight will be difficult  for Kennedy. Floyd has spent ten years researching a cure for this type of cancer.

"This is a very, very bad tumor," Floyd said of Kennedy's tumor. "Probably a survival of two years would be great."

Floyd has been studying the effects of ONC-107, an experimental drug, used to treat cancerous tumors.

"It really shuts down the tumor," Floyd said. "It progressively becomes less and less of a tumor."

By shutting down and effectively shrinking the brain tumor in rodents, Floyd hopes to someday use the drug to battle headaches and seizures cancer patients like Kennedy now suffer from.

"Therefore, we would be looking to prolong the life of the person," Floyd said.

If the FDA approves the clinical trials and everything goes as planned, Floyd said a new brain cancer drug could be on the market in two or three years.