Chemotherapy saves lives, but it also kills healthy tissue like bone marrow. According to a new study involving three patients with glioblastoma, a deadly cancer of the brain, stem cells from cancer patients’ own blood may protect their bone marrow from the toxic effects of treatment.
Glioblastomas often carry an active form of a gene called MGMT, which is a DNA repair enzyme that protects the cancer cells against chemotherapy. To overcome that protective effect, doctors use benzylguanine, a drug that blocks MGMT – but that drug also makes bone marrow and blood cells vulnerable. For this study, scientists at Fred Hutchinson
An experimental drug currently being tested against breast and lung cancer shows promise in fighting the brain cancer glioblastoma and prostate cancer, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found in two preclinical studies.
The drug’s actions, observed in isolated human cells in one trial and in rodents in the other, are especially encouraging because they attacked not only the bulk of the tumor cells but also the rare cancer stem cells that are believed to be responsible for most of a cancer’s growth, said Dr. Jerry Shay, professor of cell biology and a senior co-author of both papers. The
Researchers at Queen Mary, University of London, studied equivalent cells taken from mouse brains. Principal investigator Silvia Marino, Professor of Neuropathology at Queen Mary, University of London, and her team showed that medulloblastomas can grow from a type of brain stem cell and that these cancers are a distinct form of the disease which may require a completely different approach to treatment.
Like a Hole in the Head: Living with a Brain Tumour
Madison, Wisconsin – More than a decade of laboratory research at the University of Wisconsin has proven that a single chemical compound may both detect and treat malignant tumors and certain cancer stem cells.
In three posters presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) in Chicago, March 31-April 4, UW-Madison researchers describe exciting advances involving CLR1404, described as a “diapeutic” agent that can both image and destroy a wide range of malignant tumors and the one type of cancer stem cells examined so far.
The presentations are based on basic research in the lab of
Washington State University researchers provided computer analyses for a new gene therapy study published in Science Translational Medicine.
The study – conducted by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and published May 9 – found stem cell gene therapy could protect blood cells from damage by chemotherapy in patients suffering from glioblastoma (malignant brain tumors), thereby extending life expectancy.
The WSU laboratory of co-author Grant D. Trobridge, assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences, developed bioinformatics software that aided the Fred Hutchinson researchers in evaluating the safety of the procedure. The approach was to remove blood stem cells, add a gene