By Chris King • 28 May 2023 • 1:43
Image of Female Scientist Working on Computer Showing MRI Brain Scans.
One of the deadliest classes of cancer is those that attack the human brain. Due to the fragility and importance of the organ, they have traditionally been some of the most difficult to tackle.
However, a group of researchers from the University of Gothenburg, together with French colleagues, have developed a new method capable of killing one of the most aggressive brain tumours, glioblastoma.
Their system consisted of blocking a series of cellular functions with the help of an artificial molecule, causing the death of cancer cells due to stress.
As the authors explained in the article published on the subject in the specialised medical platform iScience, the key lies in the mechanisms by which tumour cells handle stress.
Specifically, what they do is ‘hijack’ the systems by which healthy cells regulate protein protection and excess protein. Using computer modelling, the researchers developed a ‘prototype’ molecule capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier.
This acted as a ‘filter’ that prevented harmful compounds from entering the brain and inhibited one of the ‘hijacked’ mechanisms, causing cancer cells to be ‘poisoned’ with proteins associated with cellular stress.
Their method was then tested in animal models, in which it was combined with traditional chemotherapy strategies. In this context, the treatment was able to kill the tumours without relapse within 200 days. In comparison, murine models of glioblastoma treated with chemotherapy relapsed within 100 days.
“These are the first clear results in brain tumours that can lead to a treatment that completely avoids surgery and radiation”, the authors emphasised.
“We are also beginning to study the use of the substance in other aggressive tumours such as breast cancer, pancreatic or triple-negative breast cancer”, they added.
Although in principle this strategy does not work with other types of brain tumours, glioblastomas represent 45 per cent of all cancers that affect the brain. Current treatments often have severe side effects, something that did not happen in this experiment, as reported by 20minutos.es.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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