EDITOR'S NOTE: Sen. John McCain's diagnosis of glioblastoma brought to mind a story covered by Katie McCall two years ago in Houston, so she decided to see what had happened to the Baumanns.
When Phil Baumann was diagnosed with a glioblastoma in September of 2011, he and his wife Misty were told he had 14 months to live.
Their 8-year-old son was going to lose his dad.
"They went in and took out the tumor that he had, which was about the size of a golf ball, and they did the standard treatment, which is chemo and radiation," Misty Baumann said. "After that, six months later, he had another tumor, which is the nature of this disease. Every four to six months there's a new tumor."
"They decided ... we could go in and take it out again, and four to six months later it's probably going to happen again," she added.
In April 2012, Phil enrolled in a clinical trial at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Doctors drilled a hole into his skull and injected his tumor with an altered form of the cold virus called Delta 24, designed to get the virus to consume the brain tumor, and, as viruses do, to make copies of itself that would eat more tumor.
Within eight weeks: "It started to shrink ... and then every visit after that it would shrink more and more and more to where it finally was completely gone," Misty said. "It was like the most amazing thing we'd ever seen."
Month after month they scanned and his brain -- no tumor. Months turned into years.
"He was their poster child," she said. "He would walk in to do his scans and literally had technicians want to shake his hand because they were, like, we just don't see this. We don't see people come in in two, three years and not have a tumor."
Phil's life went on as normal. "He was out swimming and boating and playing golf and going to work every day," Misty said.
Until a year ago. A tumor appeared, and there was nothing that could stop it.
Phil died on June 11, 5 1/2 years after he was given 14 months to live.
"It was a blessing," Misty Baumann said. "It was a gift that we got from Delta 24 for sure. to have him in our life for 5 1/2, almost six more years."
In a final act of generosity.. Phil Baumann donated his brain to the doctors who had miraculously kept it tumor-free for so long.
We talked to his brain surgeon Dr. Frederick Lang today. He said they've started another trial combining Delta 24 -- which was so effective it was fast-tracked by the FDA -- with a drug called Keytruda, that helps the immune system.
Seven cancer centers are participating. They are about to open the trial to accept as many as 40 new patients.
For information on the clinical trial, go to the DNAtrix website.
For information on M.D. Anderson center, go to their website or call 1-855-465-0471.
To donate to CureFest, the Baumanns' effort to raise money for cancer research, visit the CureFest website.
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