Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Gleevec for Glioblastoma

Fusion protein (red) in tumor cells 
from a histological section of human 
glioblastoma. (Photo courtesy:
Antonio Iavarone Lab)
CANCER DIGEST – Feb. 10, 2015 – Two patients with a lethal form of brain cancer treated with a new approach that targets a particular protein had their tumors stop growing for 115 and 134 days, suggesting the approach could advance survival of the cancer a new study in the January 2015 journal Clinical Cancer Research shows. 

The approach is based on the principle behind the development of Gleevec (imatinib mesylate) or the “leukemia pill” that has been successful in halting chronic myeloid leukemia in some patients. Gleevec acts on a abnormal fusion of two proteins that fuel tumor growth.

A team led by Antonio Iavarone, MD, professor of neurology and of pathology and cell biology at the Institute for Cancer Genetics discovered the fusion of two different proteins involved in glioblastoma, the most common form of brain cancer. For adults with more aggressive glioblastoma, treated with a current combination of a chemotherapy and radiation therapy, median survival is about 14.6 months and only about 30 percent of patients survive two years.

In the current study, the researchers used a drug that targets one half of the fused protein, which resulted in the positive response in the two patients. Their tumors either stopped growing or shrank for as long as 134 days, giving the researchers hope that a drug that targets both of the fused proteins might extend survival.

“This suggests that if we developed a drug that hits the fused protein more precisely, while leaving normal cells alone, we may get even better results,” Dr. Iavarone said in a press release. “The real test of that will have to wait for the development of such a drug and the clinical trials.”

No comments:

Post a Comment