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Renowned cancer doctor undergoes treatment he developed; is free from glioblastoma for past year

Scolyer is the first person the therapy has been used one.

An Australian doctor who used an experimental therapy to treat his aggressive brain cancer remains cancer-free a year later, the BBC is reporting.

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Richard Scolyer’s research into melanoma – skin cancer – led to a treatment he used after he was diagnosed with glioblastoma, one of the most deadly cancers.

Scolyer, 57, announced on Tuesday that an MRI scan showed that he had not had a recurrence of his original tumor – Stage 4 glioblastoma diagnosed in June 2023.

“To be honest, I was more nervous than I have been for any previous scan,” he told the BBC.

“I’m just thrilled and delighted... couldn’t be happier.”

According to Scolyer, his subtype of glioblastoma is so aggressive most patients survive less than a year. Generally, the tumor comes back within six months, according to The Daily Mail.

Scolyer, the co-director of the Melanoma Institute Australia, has spear-headed research into immunotherapy, or using the body’s immune system to fight cancer, People reported.

That research has shown great promise in treating the deadly skin cancer, curing nearly half of those with the disease.

Immunotherapy worked best, the research showed, when combined with other drugs and administered prior to removal of the tumor, Sky News reported.

Scolyer received the immunotherapy – tailored to fight his tumor’s characteristics – and other drugs and then had his tumor surgically removed. He became the first brain cancer patient to undergo pre-surgery combination immunotherapy.

He said that following the surgery he had to deal with epileptic seizures, pneumonia and liver issues, but is doing much better now.

Scolyer stressed that his cancer is not cured, and said he hopes the experiment with immunotherapy will help others and maybe lead to a cure.

“It certainly doesn’t mean that my brain cancer is cured... but it’s just nice to know that it hasn’t come back yet, so I’ve still got some more time to enjoy my life with my wife Katie and my three wonderful kids.”

“I feel proud of the team that I work with. I feel proud that they’re willing to take the risk in going down this path.”

“[It] provides some hope that maybe this is a direction that’s worth investigating more formally.”

The treatment is not being used generally, but Scolyer says he hopes his results will lead to clinical trials for this type of glioblastoma treatment.

Around 300,000 people worldwide are diagnosed with brain cancer each year.