Antiviral drug may extend brain cancer survival, researchers say

Brain Storming

(antiviraldruHealthDay)—A drug used against a common virus may lengthen the lives of people with a deadly form of brain cancer, a preliminary study suggests.

Writing in the Sept. 5 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers reported on 50 patients who were given theantiviral drug valganciclovir (Valcyte) to help treat glioblastoma. The cancer is the most common form of brain tumor in adults, and it carries a dismal prognosis—with a typical survival of just over a year.

These 50 patients, however, fared far better, researchers found.

After two years, 62 percent were still alive. Of the 25 who took the antiviral continuously, 90 percent were still alive. That compared with just 18 percent of patients who received most of the same treatments—including surgery and chemotherapy—but did not take Valcyte.

“These data are by far the best ever seen for these patients,” said lead researcher…

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