AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 28, Number 3, 2019

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Existing Drug Could Treat Aggressive Brain Cancer

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A research team from the University of Georgia’s Regenerative Bioscience Center has found that a compound molecule used for drug delivery of insulin could be used to treat glioblastoma, an aggressive, usually fatal form of brain cancer.

Glioblastoma, also known as GBM, is a fast-growing, web-like tumor that arises from supportive tissue around the brain and resists surgical treatment. Described by some as “sand in grass,” GBM cells are hard to remove and tend to reach out in a tentacle-like fashion through surrounding healthy brain tissue.

According to the National Foundation for Cancer Research, more than half of newly diagnosed GBM patients die within the first 15 months. Late U.S. Sens. John McCain and Ted Kennedy both died from GBM, raising national awareness of the deadly disease.

Surfen, a compound molecule first described in 1938, is a pharmaceutical agent used to optimize insulin delivery. The UGA researchers identified that surfen-treated cells were “blocked” from tumor growth, and the spread of tumor cells in the brain.

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