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Medical Breakthrough: Austin Brain Cancer Trial

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The Austin Brain Tumor Center at Texas Oncology is leading the charge on a medical breakthrough. It's the first in the U.S. to test a drug targeting the most common and aggressive type of brain tumor.

"I just really couldn't move at all," said Zach.

Anne Tritschler couldn't believe what was happening to her husband.

"I came home from the gym and I found him lying on the kitchen floor," said Tritschler. "The gibberish that came out just freaked me out more than anything."

"We both thought that I had had a stroke," said Zach.

Zach doesn't want to use his last name.

A battery of tests led to a shocking diagnosis.

"They did an MRI and CT scan and that's when they found out through the CT that he had a brain tumor," said Tritschler.

"The type of brain tumor Glioblastoma that contains this type of tumor is clearly deadly," said Neuro-oncologist Morris D. Groves.

Groves is a physician with Texas Oncology and the Director of the Austin Brain Tumor Center. Dr. Groves also says Zach has a rare abnormality in his tumor.

"I was originally told I would live maybe five years," said Zach.

Understanding this abnormality is the focus of Dr. Groves' new, groundbreaking clinical trial.

"The breakthrough is the approach that targets the specific abnormality of the disease which is part of what makes it a tumor," said Groves.

He's testing the new drug from Novartis currently referred to as BGJ398 which targets the protein generated by this mutation.

"It works in the petri dish, it works in the animals," said Dr. Groves. "The question is will it work in people that's the only thing that matters."

Thirty-four patients across the world will be treated in the study. If it works, Zach could live another five years.

"It's awesome that Zach can be a part of this and hopefully it can help him," said Tritschler.

"This may be a part of a cure," said Dr. Groves.

The clinical trial started about three months ago. If you think you would qualify for the trial and would like to get tested, contact the Austin Brain Tumor Center at Texas Oncology.

-- Deeda Payton, KEYE TV News

Medical Breakthrough: Austin Brain Cancer Trial


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