Speed Reads

Another point for vaccines

A modified polio vaccine is successfully treating deadly brain tumors

Polio may seem out of date in the U.S., but its vaccine may be leading to a new medical breakthrough.

A modified polio vaccine injected into patients' deadly brain tumors helped reverse their "dismal" diagnoses, a report in The New England Journal of Medicine suggests. The survival rate for stage IV gliomas — a common type of brain tumor — is usually less than 20 months, and there's no effective treatment. But some of these tested patients are still alive after six years.

The 61 patients treated with the vaccine saw their conditions plateau after two years, and their 21 percent survival rate stayed constant for another year, per the report. Untreated patients had a 14 percent survival rate at two years and just 4 percent a year later.

Not every patient saw success, but it's a hopeful step in treating these aggressive tumors, NBC News says. The study's leader told NBC the results are "unprecedented," and the team will keep testing to figure out how to make the treatment work for everyone.