US team finds drug that could isolate, treat brain cancer glioblastoma

September 20, 2019

Glioblastoma (GBM), a fatal type of brain cancer, presents in web-like tumours that are hard to remove. According to the National American Foundation for Cancer Research, more than half of newly-diagnosed GBM patients are likely to die within the first 15 months.

Researchers from the University of Georgia (UGA) have recently found a way to successfully treat GBM with an existing drug – a compound molecule used for insulin delivery effectively prevented tumour growth within treated cells, and the spread of tumour cells in the brain.

The research team first studied cultured cells to observe binding properties of the compound, and then introduced live rodent models with would-be tumour cells. On treatment, the mice demonstrated smaller tumours and substantially reduced brain hemorrhage volume than control counterparts.

In addition, the research team worked with Associate Professor Leidong Mao of UGA’s College of Engineering, who co-developed of a microfluidic device used to examine negatively-charged glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) molecules produced by brain tumours. The device is designed for real-time monitoring of tumour cell adhesion and growth, and confirmed their hypothesis: the negatively-charged tumour cells could not spread after the positively-charged compound molecules bonded to and “blocked” them.

MRI images further defined the isolation properties of the treatment – rampant, invasive tumour growth was observed in untreated cells while the treated models showed a contained, circular-shaped tumour.

Lohitash Karumbaiah, Associate Professor of Regenerative Medicine at UGA, said that the tumour may form with the treatment, but it wouldn’t have any invasive inroads to creep into other parts of the brain.

“That could be clinically beneficial for a surgeon wanting to remove the tumour and not having to worry about rogue cancer cells, Karumbaiah said.


Category: Features, Pharmaceuticals

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