Study Reports Progress Against Fatal Brain Cancer

By Dr. Matthew Watson

(HealthDay News) -- A new method to prevent recurrence of deadly glioblastoma brain cancer shows promise, say U.S. scientists.

Radiation can temporarily shrink a glioblastoma tumor, but the cancer nearly always recurs within weeks or months. Few people with this type of brain cancer survive more than two years after diagnosis.

In a study on mice, Stanford University School of Medicine researchers found that blocking access to oxygen and nutrients prevents tumor recurrence.

The first step, they said, was discovering that tumors blasted with radiation use a secondary pathway to generate blood vessels needed for regrowth.

"Under normal circumstances, this pathway is not important for growth of most tumors," senior author Martin Brown, a professor of radiology, said in a Stanford news release. "What we hadn't realized until recently is that radiation meant to kill the cancer cells also destroys the existing blood vessels that nourish the tumor. As a result, it has to rely on a backup blood delivery pathway."

The Stanford team used a molecule called AMD3100 to block the secondary glioblastoma tumor growth process in mice.

The study was published online Feb. 22 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. Read more...

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