James Graham Brown Cancer Center

University of Louisville

Researchers at Louisville’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center have found a new way to treat advanced melanoma using the herpes simplex 1 virus.

The genetically modified virusta, limogene laherparepvec, or T-VEC, invades and kills cancer cells by stimulating the body’s immune system. The virus does not harm healthy cells or cause patients to develop cold sores.

Dr. Jason Chesney, deputy director of the cancer center, worked with a team of international scientists to carry out clinical trials and found that patients with advanced melanoma had improved survival.

He said traditional approaches, such as chemotherapy, for advanced cancers are non-curative and only suppress the growth of tumors.

“When we can activate the immune system and cause a tumor to shrink those responses, the shrinkage is durable. It lasts for years and frequently for a lifetime,” he said.

The University of Louisville

One of Kentucky’s most well-known cancer treatment centers is receiving a multi-million dollar grant to find new treatments and vaccines.

The James Graham Brown Cancer Center at the University of Louisville announced Friday that they have been given a three-year, $5.5 million dollar grant from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

The Center’s director, Doctor Donald Miller, says the grant will help continue a partnership between U of L and Owensboro Health that is exploring the use of plant-based pharmaceuticals and vaccines.

“We have two vaccines--one for cervical cancer, one for colon cancer that are ready to move forward  into early phase clinical trials, and this grant will primarily support the testing of those vaccines over the next three years,” Dr. Miller said.

The grant will also seek to further develop plant-based drugs that would allow a higher concentration of anti-cancer drugs to be delivered to tumors.

Kevin Willis

When Brenda Bradley was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, she had no idea she would soon become one of the first American women to undergo a radically different approach to radiation treatment.

Bradley lives in the Hardin County town of Stephensburg with her husband, Tony. After Brenda received a lumpectomy, she and Tony discussed radiation treatment options with Dr. Anthony Dragun at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center in Louisville.

“And he asked would we be willing to become part of a study," recalls Brenda. "And we talked about it and went back and said ‘absolutely.’”

The program Dr. Dragun was proposing would drastically cut down on the traveling time and number of radiation sessions Brenda Bradley would endure. Instead of driving from Stephensburg to Louisville five days a week for up to seven weeks, Dr. Dragun told Brenda she could instead receive radiation once a week for five weeks.

“And he got us from 30 or 35 treatments to five. And we’ve never had a reason to look back. It worked so well, it was unbelievable,” the Hardin County native says.

Researchers say ovarian cancer can be difficult to detect and treat. However, Dr. Daniel Metzinger of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center in Louisville believes the medical field is finding more effective ways to prolong the lives of those with the disease. He believes new strategies need to be developed to help with early diagnosis.   A number of public awareness activities are scheduled in the region during the month of September, and an ovarian cancer awareness seminar will be held in Bowling Green on September 15th. Dr.