Diary of a Brain Tumor Patient's Wife

Dec. 16, 1997

Renette Davis

A co-worker brought me an article from the paper on Thalidomide. Here's what it said:

Thalidomide, the drug for morning sickness that did so much damage in the '60's by causing birth defects, has reemerged to treat AIDS, leprosy and now brain cancer. Patients with malignant astrocytoma, the most common brain tumor, usually die in less than a year. Dr. Michael Gruber of NYU Medical Center has combined chemotherapy with thalidomide--which keeps the tumor from creating its own blood supply--for those who have exhausted all other treatments. In the first two cases, the tumor was gone after six months. "We can't get on the soapbox and scream how wonderful this is, but it is a good beginning," said Dr. Gruber. And to prevent birth defects? "We have a strict protocol: pregnancy tests before starting, agreements to use contraception during treatment, and the drug must be kept locked up at home."

I asked the oncologist about it yesterday, and he said he had heard about it but didn't know any details. He said if I can get some more information on it, he would be willing to explore it as a possibility. If any of you expert web searchers want to try to find something, I would be glad for some help. I thought I would try to do a Medline search today.

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Created: May 10, 1999
Last updated: July 18, 2010