For a lot of people, cancer is the C-word. It’s that word that you don’t talk about. The one you don’t mention.

But cancer researchers have a different C-word: Cure.

It’s not that they don’t want one. It’s just that after so many successes and failures, they don’t want to get their hopes up. So they don’t throw the word cure around very often. Until now.

There’s a Phase 1 clinical trial going on at Duke University Medical Center that could shake things up – at least for one specific type of cancer.

Researchers are using a modified version of the poliovirus to attack glioblastoma multiforme, a specific type of brain cancer mass. It’s still early, but there have been some successes. Of the 22 people enrolled in the trial, half are doing well, and several are considered to be in remission, which is pretty much unheard of for glioblastomas. The first person to undergo the treatment in this trial is now cancer free, almost three years later.

This clinical trial didn’t just come out of nowhere. As with most treatments, it is a direct result of years of basic research, in this case, with mice and non-human primates. In fact, 39 rhesus macaques were studied before moving into human trial, with very promising results.

Just another example of how current breakthroughs have their roots in animal research.

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