Podcast: Using Viruses to Kill Deadly Brain Cancers

Dr. Elizabeth Greig grabbing relief supplies from a vehicle.

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Dr. Ashish Shah is using viruses to make cancer cells more amenable to treatment.

In the previous episode of Inside U Miami Medicine, we explored promising advances in less-toxic treatments for brain cancer. Now, we continue our focus on glioblastoma, diving into research that uses viruses to weaken cancer cells. 

Ashish Shah, M.D., a neurosurgeon and brain cancer researcher at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, is weaponizing specific viruses to make brain cancer cells more susceptible to chemotherapy and radiation.

It’s a delicate process that involves delivering viral-based gene therapy directly into the tumor or tumor cavity to alter the fundamental genome of the cancer cells.

Dr. Ashish Shah with Dean Henri Ford, both flashing the U hand sign
Dr. Ashish Shah with Dean Henri Ford

“Almost 50% of patients will succumb to [glioblastoma] in just over a year, despite our maximum surgical efforts, radiation and chemotherapy. That’s quite devastating,” said Dr. Shah, assistant professor of neurological surgery and principal investigator of virology and immunotherapy at Sylvester Brain Tumor Institute. “So, I thought, ‘Are there ways that we can harness the immune system and use biologic therapies like viruses to really improve outcomes for these patients?’”

Tune in to the latest episode of the Inside U Miami Medicine podcast to hear more from Dr. Shah about his trailblazing work.

Tags: Brain Cancer Initiative, Braman Family Breast Cancer Institute, Dr. Ashish Shah, glioblastoma research, neuroscience, neurosurgery, Sylverster Comprehensive Cancer Center, Sylvester Brain Tumor Institute