In this health video learn about the different ways to fight stroke and brain Cancer.
Read the full transcript »
Male Speaker: It seems like science-fiction, but really there's a lot of science back behind it. Host: The human brain masterminds every action of our lives. It controls our bodies and catalogs our memories. Its functions are complex and that makes treating brain illness, like cancer and strokes so challenging. From a simple task like folding paper to solving complex scientific mysteries, there's always a brain at work behind the scene. It's easy to take a healthy brain for granted but when something goes wrong, it's hard to ignore. Michael: I want to sit down and I fall down, and then I want to get up and then I realize my arm didn't work. Host: Michael Collard (ph) didn't know it at that moment but he was having a stroke. Michael: I didn't really think I was going to get up and I don't really think anybody would find me, where I was. Host: Stroke occurs two ways; the most common is caused by a clot that blocks a blood vessel. The second and deadliest is caused by hemorrhage, either way blood flow in the brain is interrupted and without oxygen, part of the brain dies. Dr. Michel Torbey: Stroke is the third deep leading cause of death in the United States. Host: There's one drug approved by the FDA to be given at the onset of a stroke. Dr. Michel Torbey: tPA is a clot buster, it works on the clot to basically lyse it to pretty much make it disappear. Host: But it must be given within three hours. Dr. Demetrius Lopes: It's quite challenging to arrive in the hospital within that time and be able to have all the work up and all that done within at a window. Host: So, doctors are testing a new device that can help patients for up to eight hours after a stroke occurs. Dr. Demetrius Lopes: There's an area of occlusion. Host: It's called the Penumbra. Doctors sneak it up to the brain through an incision in the leg. If the clot is soft, the device breaks it up and sucks it in from the front. If the clot is hard, a wire basket fits around the clot and pulls it in. Dr. Demetrius Lopes: Now you have complete opening of both blood vessels. Clifford Golatt: Just went dead all of a sudden, that's when I knew I was a having stroke. Host: Clifford Golatt suffered one of the worst kinds of stroke. Dr. Christiana Hall: Hemorrhage is the least treatable form of stroke, particularly spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage. Host: Although only 15% of strokes are caused by brain hemorrhage, most are fatal. For those who survive six months, only 20% resume their normal lives. Dr. Christiana Hall: If we had an agent which could stop hemorrhage growth in its track, then this would certainly be the first step towards finding something that will make a difference for these patients. Host: Doctors say they are step closer with a drug called NovoSeven. Dr. Christiana Hall: It greatly accelerates clotting right where it's needed at injured vessels. Host: It wasn't the stroke that threatened Dave Herbert but a brain cancer called Glioblastoma. Dave Herbert: The worst type of tumor I could have and probably expect maybe six months. Host: It's almost impossible for surgeons to remove vulvar cancer. Dr. Sandeep Kunwar: We know that one and two inches away from where the tumor is located, there are microscopic tumor cells mixing with normal cell. Host: Dave was the first person to receive a new drug called IL 13-PE38, it binds the tumor cells without damaging normal tissue. Dr. Sandeep Kunwar: For the first time what has shown to us is we're on the right track. Host: The drug is administered differently too, through slim tubes inserted into a patient's brain. In an early study of three dozen paints, nine were alive after two years; six of the nine cancer free. Dr. Herbert Engelhard: Can I just have you look at my finger? Host: Researchers around the country are looking to see, if applied electrical fields can treat cancer as brain tumors. Dr. Herbert Engelhard: Can you puff out your cheeks. Host: MRIs pin-point the main tumor mask, 36 elec