A new brain cancer treatment, which has demonstrated its effectiveness in a mice study, is now providing hope to scientists, who believe it could help humans.

New research findings published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences highlighted that the medication– a gel–showed a 100% success rate in curing aggressive brain tumors in mice models, a report by John Hopkins University said.

Now, scientists hope this will help treat patients diagnosed with glioblastoma–one of the deadliest and most common brain tumors in humans.

Professor Honggang Cui of Johns Hopkins University, who was a part of the research, said the novel substance could well be the future of brain cancer treatment.

“Despite recent technological advancements, there is a dire need for new treatment strategies. We believe this hydrogel will be the future and will supplement current treatments for brain cancer,” he said, according to Talker.

Cui’s team combined an anticancer drug and an antibody in a solution, which self-assembled into a gel. The gel is designed to fill the tiny grooves left behind after brain surgery is performed to remove the benign cells. The gel can reach the sites that are inaccessible to surgery as well as standard drugs, and kill the residual cancer cells that will prevent carcinogenic cell growth in the long run.

The added benefit of the gel was that it helped build an immune response in a mouse’s body, which struggled to activate on its own while fighting glioblastoma.

To get to the bottom of things, scientists rechallenged the surviving mice models with glioblastoma and found their immune systems were strong enough to beat the cancer cells sans any added medication.

Still, researchers said the gel is best effective when it is preceded by surgery, adding that applying the gel alone yields only a 50% survival chance.

“The surgery likely alleviates some of that pressure and allows more time for the gel to activate the immune system to fight the cancer cells,” Cui said.

What is the gel made up of?

The formulation consists of nano-sized filaments composed of paclitaxel, an FDA-approved medication used for treating lung, breast, and various other types of cancer. Through the filaments, an antibody called aCD47 is transferred to the affected sites. The antibody then blankets the tumor cavity evenly and the gel releases medication for several weeks.

With the help of the antibody, the researchers are trying to target a type of cell called macrophage, which either supports immunity or protects cancer cells, leading to aggressive tumor growth.

“We don’t usually see 100% survival in mouse models of this disease,” said Betty Tyler, a study co-author and associate professor of neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. “Thinking that there is potential for this new hydrogel combination to change that survival curve for glioblastoma patients is very exciting.”

“This hydrogel combines both chemotherapy and immunotherapy intracranially,” Tyler said. “The gel is implanted at the time of tumor resection, which makes it work really well.”

Brain
Scientists develop new gel that will possibly cure aggressive brain tumor. PIXABAY