Targeting Aggressive Brain Tumors

Glioblastoma multiforme therapies could target tumor cell growth

(RxWiki News) One of the most aggressive kinds of brain cancer is also one of the most common. Researchers may have found a way to battle Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).

A research team has identified a key component in the biology that drives many aggressive glioblastomas. This discovery may lead to new therapies for a disease that currently offers few treatment options.

"Ask your neurologist about clinical trials for glioblastoma treatment."

Drugs could be developed to treat cancers that have too much of a protein known as PDGFR-alpha, which is overexpressed in a large proportion of GBMs. Patients who have too much of this protein usually have lower survival rates.

The study was designed and led by Bo Hu and Shi-Yuan Cheng of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. They found that PDGFR-alpha activity in gliblastoma cells triggered "a signaling cascade" that resulted in tumor cell growth and invasion.

By targeting one of these mechanisms, PDGFR-alpha was essentially shut down so that it could not promote tumor growth, invasion or survival.

This research was published in the November issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Review Date: 
November 17, 2011