Stephanie Hopper Obituary, Death Cause – In the quiet halls of Duke University’s Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center, Stephanie Hopper’s story unfolded a narrative that defied the odds, inspired hope, and left an indelible mark on the fight against glioblastoma. On March 26, 2020, Stephanie, the first patient in the world to undergo an experimental therapy using poliovirus to treat glioblastoma, peacefully bid farewell, leaving behind a legacy of courage and an enduring impact on the pursuit of a cure for brain cancer.
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Stephanie’s journey with glioblastoma began at the tender age of 20. Diagnosed with this aggressive form of brain cancer, she sought refuge at Duke’s renowned brain tumor center. Faced with a prognosis that offered only a few months of life, Stephanie underwent the conventional arsenal of treatments surgery to remove the tumor, chemotherapy, bevacizumab, and radiation. Despite her resilience, the tumor returned, casting a shadow over her future.
In 2012, at a crossroads in her battle against glioblastoma, Stephanie made a courageous decision. She became a pioneer in a groundbreaking research trial at Duke, embracing an investigational therapy where a modified poliovirus was injected directly into her brain tumor. The visionary behind this approach was Dr. Matthias Gromeier, a professor of neurosurgery, medicine, and molecular genetics and microbiology at Duke. Stephanie’s choice to participate in this trial was not just a personal one; it was a commitment to advancing science and the collective quest for a glioblastoma cure.
Tom O’Donnell, a brain cancer patient at Duke, said, “It was my brain tumor that allowed me to meet Stephanie and for this I am grateful. She showed us what brave looks like. She blazed the path for the rest of us to follow. We will continue to fight the good fight and push relentlessly forward toward the cure.