Researchers at Duke University are trying to see if the immune system’s strong defense against the polio virus can be turned against brain tumors. In a small study, 61 patients whose tumors recurred were treated with a polio virus that had been genetically modified so it would not attack the nervous system. The virus was dripped directly on the tumor through a long tube in a one-time application. After one year, survival rates were the same as in another group of patients receiving other treatments at Duke. But after two years, the survival rate rose to 21%, compared to 14% in the control group; and after three years, the survival rates were 21% and 4%, respectively. The results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine and discussed at a recent conference in Norway. Another study involving children is underway, a second study on adults that combines poliovirus treatments with chemotherapy has begun, and other studies are envisioned for treating other forms of cancer. A company has been formed to license any patents resulting from the research.