AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 2, 2017

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Study: New Approach to Destroying Deadly Brain Tumors

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A new strategy for treating brain tumors may extend or save the lives of patients diagnosed with one of the deadliest forms of cancer, according to a study from UT Southwestern Medical Center. The research demonstrates in mice that a combination of medications – traditionally used separately to treat lung cancer and arthritis – can destroy glioblastoma, a difficult-to-treat brain tumor that is lethal to most patients in little more than a year. The combination of these medications disables two proteins responsible for helping the cancer cells survive, providing a therapy that UT Southwestern is working to fast-track for clinical use. “This could be a groundbreaking treatment. If it works in patients, then it will be an important advance,” said Dr. Amyn Habib, a member of UT Southwestern’s Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute and the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center. The research answers a decades-old question of why a treatment that disables a protein common in various cancers has been effective in some forms of lung and colon cancer but not in glioblastoma.

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