Brain Cancers

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.


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Tool adapted to surgery may improve brain cancer surgery

The Purdue-designed
mass spectrometer to
help guide brain surgery.
(Photo courtesy of
Brigham and Women’s
CANCER DIGEST – July 6, 2014 – A new tool that sprays a microscopic stream of charged solvent onto a brain tumor and surrounding tissue may help brain surgeons more precisely remove cancerous tissue during surgery, say researchers developing the tool at Purdue University and surgeons at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

The tool uses a technique called mass spectrometry that can identify molecules based on mass, and produces a color-coded image that reveals the location, type and concentration of tumor cells. The tool had previously been shown to accurately identify the cancer type, grade and tumor margins of specimens removed during surgery based on an evaluation of the distribution and amounts of fatty substances called lipids within the tissue.

R. Graham Cooks, the Purdue professor who co-led the project said in a press release, that brain tumor tissue looks very similar to healthy brain tissue, making it is very difficult to determine where the tumor ends and the normal tissue begins. The molecular information provided by the tool can help surgeons precisely and more thoroughly remove the cancer.

The study will be published in an upcoming issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and is published online.

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