May 19, 2023
Clinical trial enables marathoner with glioblastoma to keep running
BY Elise Raymund
Scott Brenneman embodies a spirit of endurance in every aspect of his life.
He is a corporate attorney focused on security and risk and has been an Army JAG attorney, active duty and reserve, for over 20 years. Scott and his wife, Lisa, have been together for more than 20 years and are raising three teenage sons. Over the years, he’s run eight marathons and competed in one full IRONMAN and two half IRONMAN events. He hopes to begin training for another marathon soon. Scott is also living with brain cancer and has endured three brain surgeries.
“When I was diagnosed, I made the decision to ‘keep on keeping on,’” Scott says. “I was not going to stop. For me, it was, ‘It'll take a little time for me to find my new normal, but I'm going find it and get back to living the life I love.’ I just kept doing it as much as I could.”
A glioblastoma diagnosis and unsuccessful treatment led to MD Anderson
Scott was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme in late 2019. After two brain surgeries and several unsuccessful attempts to treat the disease with chemotherapy and radiation therapy near his Pennsylvania home, Scott was running out of options – and time.
“I was at the point where there was nothing else for me to do,” Scott says. “Giving up just wasn’t part of the plan, so I began the search for a new option.” Lisa did some research, and that's when they found MD Anderson.
Enrolling in Delta-24 clinical trial
Scott enrolled in a Phase I clinical trial at MD Anderson under the care of Frederick Lang, M.D. In the study, a tumor-selective oncolytic adenovirus, Delta-24-RGD (DNX-2401), eliminates tumor cells by directly attacking them while also training the body’s own immune system to attack cancer. This particular trial tests intra-arterial delivery of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) that have been loaded with this cancer-seeking virus. This trial is the first trial to use MSCs as a delivery vehicle, and the first study to test intra-arterial delivery using selective endovascular approaches.
In late 2021, Scott underwent a third brain surgery to remove what was initially believed to be a recurrent tumor. However, the concerning area was not a new tumor, but rather an inflammatory response indicating that the Delta-24-RGD virus was activating his immune system. The treatment was working, and his body started attacking the cancer. Since then, Scott has continued to tolerate the treatment well.
Gratitude for glioblastoma research
Aside from a third brain surgery in late 2021 to remove some previous radiation-induced tissue scarring, Scott has responded well to the treatment he’s received through the clinical trial.
“I feel fantastic,” Scott says. “When I meet with Dr. Lang, he lets me know whether there's new growth or no growth. Over the past several months, he's said things are stable and may even be getting better.”
“I used to come every other month. Now, I come every four months. That means I get to spend more time with my family doing what I want to do,” he says. “It means so much to Lisa and me, and to our sons, Carter, Carson and Cayden.”
Medical advances being made at MD Anderson through studies like Delta-24 provide hope to patients, like Scott, who often find themselves with little to no options after multiple cancer recurrences or failed treatments.
“It's so important for folks to support brain cancer research like Dr. Lang’s study, which helps people like me. Nobody can do this alone,” Scott says. “Dr. Lang, I appreciate all that MD Anderson and you have done for my family and me. Without you, I wouldn't be able to do it.”
Request an appointment at MD Anderson online or by calling 1-877-632-6789.
When I was diagnosed, I made the decision to 'keep on keeping on.'