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Dr. Richard Scolier has made international headlines by doing something doctors thought impossible: surviving a deadly cancer.

The doctor, himself a pathologist who helped treat melanoma, tried a first-of-its-kind combination of immunosuppressive drugs before surgery in a revolutionary new approach.

Scholier was diagnosed with a type of cancer called glioblastoma, an incredibly aggressive brain tumor. Treatment options for glioblastoma have not changed much over the past several decades: surgery to remove the tumor, usually radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Prediction It’s bleak: Only 25% of those diagnosed live past the first year, and the five-year survival rate is just 5%.

A pioneering pathologist himself, Richard Scolier tried a new method to treat his own cancer. Professor Richard Scolier/Instagram

But Scolier and his long-time research partner, Dr. Georgina Long, were determined. The doctors applied principles learned from years of melanoma research: A combination of immunosuppressive drugs is administered first before surgery.

“I think of it as a Hail Mary. And it worked – it’s great for the rich. I mean I saw it a few months ago and it looked pretty cool. Dr. Jeffrey S. Weberdeputy director of the Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone Health and co-leader of the center’s melanoma research program told the Post.

Weber, who was not involved in Scholier’s treatment but is familiar with the case because he knows the pathologist through their joint work in cancer research, said the miraculous results are “remarkable.”

One of the unique aspects of Scholier’s treatment is that he first received a combination of immunosuppressive drugs to shrink the tumor and then surgery to remove it. The strategy of administering drugs before surgery is known as neoadjuvant therapy

Scolyer’s treatment involves receiving immunosuppressive drugs before surgery, an approach not usually taken for glioblastoma. X/@ProfRScolyerMIA

Scholier joked BBC This was a “no-brainer” option – but of course it came with big risks.

Experts wondered if the immunosuppressive drugs would even reach his brain. Experts have warned that immunosuppressive drugs can be toxic when mixed, and can cause brain swelling and sudden death. BBC. And these are just a few to consider.

“If you give neoadjuvant therapy, you’re delaying some surgery and radiation for some time,” Weber said. “You may have side effects that prevent you from moving on to a more definitive treatment.”

Scolier worked with his longtime research partner Dr. Georgina Long, pictured above, on the treatment. Fairfax Media

Weber adds that sometimes neoadjuvant therapy may not be an option because of other drugs, such as steroids, that a cancer patient may be taking. In other words, Scholier was a very special case.

Although this treatment is new for glioblastoma, Weber said it will be followed up in other ongoing studies.

“I’d say it’s all the same with many advances in immunotherapy, noting that neoadjuvant therapy can be useful before surgery,” Weber explained.

In other cancers, like lung cancer, Weber said, similar courses of neoadjuvant therapy have been successful.

“It’s a growing field,” Weber added.

Globoblastoma is a very aggressive form of brain cancer. The 5-year survival rate is about 5%. Getty Images/Science Photo Libra

Scolier and Long seem to agree, but emphasize that they are still a long way from developing an acceptable course of regulatory treatment.

Long told the BBC: “We have created a comprehensive stockpile of information to form the basis for the next step.” “We’re not there yet. What we really need to focus on is showing that this preoperative, integrated immunotherapy approach works in many people.

Scolier, who recently celebrated a tumor-free MRI scan, will continue to have it every three months, Weber said. But now the Australian doctor is basically back to normal, exercising by jogging 15K every day.

“I’m proud of the team I’m working with. I’m proud that they’re willing to take the risk to go this way,” Scolier told the BBC.