The Coastal Star

Health Notes: Clinical trial uses engineered polio virus to treat brain tumors

By Christine Davis

Researchers at Boca Raton Regional Hospital’s Marcus Neuroscience Institute are investigating the effectiveness of using an engineered polio virus, PVSRIPO, in the treatment of patients with aggressive brain tumors. “When induced at the tumor site, it directly kills tumor cells and elicits inflammatory events that engage the immune system,” said Dr. Sajeel Chowdhary, the Neuroscience Institute’s director of neuro-oncology and sub-investigator for the study.

    In the past, therapy for patients with brain tumors was impeded by the blood-brain barrier, which blocks chemotherapy agents from reaching tumor sites. Breaching that barrier through neurosurgical technique is a turning point.

 “Through the use of micro catheters under MRI guidance and using a technique called convection-enhanced delivery, we can now bypass the blood-brain barrier and deliver the therapeutic agent, such as PVSRIPO, to the tumor site,” said Dr. Frank Vrionis, director of the institute and principal investigator for the trial there.

The procedure is minimally invasive and usually requires a one- to two-day hospitalization. Cancer patients interested in participating in the trials can contact Boca Raton Regional Hospital’s Clinical Research Center at 955-4800 or the Marcus Neuroscience Institute Research Office at 955-5784.


Dr. John Roberts was appointed to the medical staff of the Eugene M. & Christine E. Lynn Cancer Institute and BocaCare Physician Network at Boca Raton Regional Hospital. A board-certified thoracic surgeon, he earned his medical degree with honors from Yale University and his master’s of business degree at Auburn University.

His postgraduate training included an internship and residency program in surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, and he completed an additional residency in cardiothoracic surgery at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston. Roberts served as the chief of general thoracic surgery at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He was also an instructor of surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital and an assistant professor of surgery at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Vanderbilt School of Medicine.

Roberts was selected by his peers to the “Best Doctors in America” list from 2003 through 2018.


Delray Medical Center now offers patients with coronary artery disease the newest-generation Abbott XIENCE Sierra heart stent. It is specifically developed for complex cases such as patients with multiple or totally blocked vessels, which now account for up to 70 percent of cases.

“This new, less-invasive technology could offer hope for improved quality of life for patients who have very limited options today,” said Mark Bryan, medical center CEO. “This procedure can help extend lives and improve outcomes for those who are suffering from heart disease.”

New features of the stent include a thinner profile, increased flexibility, bigger lengths and small diameters.


Bethesda Hospital East was recently granted American Association of Blood Banks accreditation for transfusion services.

Accreditation follows an intensive on-site assessment by specially trained assessors and establishes that the level of technical and administrative performance within the facility meets or exceeds the standards set by AABB.

This accreditation program contributes to the quality and safety of collecting, processing, testing, distributing and administering blood and cellular therapy products. It assesses the quality and operational systems in place within a facility. The basis for assessment is compliance with AABB standards, Code of Federal Regulations and other federal guidance documents.

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