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National brain tumour research funding needs to increase to £35 million a year

Differentiation therapy, Hox genes and Abemaciclib Research update 13th May

Researchers believe they may have found a way to strengthen possible treatments for glioblastoma and reduce the speed at which the aggressive tumour progresses This new study published in the journal  Oncogenesuggests that an inhibitor drug which targets a particular cell protein, could refine therapeutic strategies against glioblastoma, making them more effective.

In demonstrating the potential impacts of differentiation therapy their research focuses on using drugs to switch malignant cells into a more benign composition and then as these cells divide, they grow more slowly therefore limiting tumour growth. 

The researchers tested different drugs which belong to a family of proteins called ‘kinases’. They identified an inhibitor which targets a particular protein (PDGFR) and by altering the expression of downstream targets, it is able to switch glioblastoma cancer cells, and glioblastoma cancer stem cells, into neuronal-like cells and ultimately reduce their proliferation and invasion abilities. Furthermore, through in-vivo studies, the team then showed that treatment with this particular drug improved the effect of temozolomide.

Findings from a seven-year research project suggest that there could be a new approach to treating glioblastoma. In a peer-reviewed study published by BMC CancerUK scientists have shown that a short chain of amino acids (the HTL-001 peptide) is effective at targeting and inhibiting the function of a family of genes responsible for the growth of glioblastoma – Hox genes.

Scientists have identified a drug that inhibits growth of the most aggressive meningiomas and how to most accurately identify which meningiomas will respond to the drug. The drug is a newer cancer treatment called abemaciclib. The scientists demonstrated the effectiveness of the drug in select patients, mouse models, a 3D living tissue brain tumour (organoids) and cell cultures. Investigators discovered that meningiomas can be divided into molecular subgroups with different clinical outcomes and recurrence rates. This new method of classifying tumours allows scientists to predict recurrence more accurately than the current method of classifying the tumour.

A study has created a library of models to study brain metastases that recapitulate the disease in humans. These models can be a relevant tool to understand the disease and discover new therapeutic approaches tailormade to each patient.

This National Geographic article is titled ‘New method delivers life-saving drugs to the brain—using sound waves’ and provides an overview of focused ultrasound.

EANO members are able to sign in and access a paper about understanding epilepsy in IDH-mutated gliomas: towards a targeted therapy, while this paper, which is only available as a pdf, looks at how CXCL14 promotes a robust brain tumor-associated immune response in glioma.

Finally this week the University of Nottingham are recruiting for a 3-yr PhD studentship to focus on recapitulating the post-surgical brain microenvironment of atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumours to identify proteins for targeted therapy’

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