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Arizona Mom Says Glioblastoma Saved Her Life

Arizona mom of two children, Jenn Ortiz was diagnosed with brain cancer in August 2020.
She learned her glioblastoma was the most aggressive and deadly form of brain cancer
and that she may have only 12-15 months to live.

Arizona Mom Says Glioblastoma Saved Her Life
“I got a third chance at life and I’m not wasting it. I’ve got too much to live for.”

Barrow Institute’s Ivy Tumor Center Provides Hope

Glioblastoma brain tumors often recur and Jenn’s did. For those with recurrent glioblastoma, treatment options are very limited, and there is no standard therapy. Not one to take “no” for an answer, Jenn looked for alternatives and found a Phase 0 clinical trial at the Barrow Neurological Institute’s Ivy Brain Tumor Center.

The clinical trial was testing a new drug, AZD1390, which can make tumor cells more vulnerable to radiation therapy. Jenn took the drug for three days before surgery to remove the tumor. Her neurosurgeon, Nader Sanai, MD, removed the brain tumor and the Ivy Center’s team of scientists quickly tested it to see if the drug had reached the tumor and had its intended effect. It did. Jenn continued taking the drug during treatment.

“Unfortunately, for those with high-grade gliomas, the battle is never over,” says Dr. Sanai, director of the Ivy Brain Tumor Center and director of Neurosurgical Oncology at Barrow Neurological Institute. “We’re singularly focused on finding a cure for these aggressive tumors, and Phase 0 clinical trials, like the one Jenn participated in, give us a direct avenue for rapid drug discovery.”

Jenn’s latest tests and MRI show no signs of brain tumor regrowth. Jenn credits her care team and the clinical trial for saving her life. “I’ll do any trial or anything I can do to save my life and anyone else’s,” she says.