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National brain tumour research funding needs to increase to £30-35 million a year
Poliovirus, Car -T, Proton Beam and seaweed
- The poliovirus has been genetically engineered by combining it with a rhinovirus changing its ability to damage nerve cells and, news now, of using a chimeric polio-rhinovirus
(PVS-RIPO), which has been modified to express specific tumour antigens that stimulate an immune response. This attracts specific immune cells known as dendritic cells and specific T cells, which are central in killing tumours. The poliovirus naturally infects almost all cancer cells without affecting normal cells, allowing entry into the cancer cells and then attracting the immune cells to kill the tumour. In very early phases of testing, this genetically engineered viral combination has significantly improved the survival in people with end-stage glioblastomas.
- Two clinical trials are underway to assess the effectiveness of a type of cell-based therapy called CAR T-cells in tackling diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), and another related disease with a similarly poor prognosis, diffuse midline glioma
(DMG). Both trials are using the genetically engineered cells, most often made by taking a patient’s own T-cells and genetically manipulating them to hone in on a specific target present on cancer cells and attack them. When reporting on
her findings leader of the clinical trial at Stanford University Michelle Monje, MD, PhD, says “It was a striking and consistent result; after more than a decade of research in DIPG preclinical models, I had never seen anything that promising.”
- If you two minutes to spare this weekend watch this video clip about how “Gammatiles zap brain cancer” – essentially
after a tumour is removed, a gamma tile is left in place to attack any newly growing cells within its vicinity.
- A seaweed extract found in brown seaweeds has promising effects in brain cancer treatment. The fucoxanthin compound is a type of carotenoid pigment found in brown seaweeds, such as Saccharina latissimi (also known as sugar kelp). The seaweed is cultivated in Europe, is available commercially and the compound could help to treat glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).
- News now of the first study to demonstrate an intravenous medication that can cross the blood-brain barrier.- it’s really worth clicking through to this one and finding out more as this discovery could one day enable new clinical therapies for treating glioblastoma.
- Adelaide is poised to open Australia's first proton therapy centre in 2025, although this will be several years after the first NHS one came on stream at The Christie in Manchester, this Australian report on just how safe is proton therapy for children with brain cancer compared to the conventional x-ray radiation delivered post-surgery is definitely worth a read.
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