Study suggests new treatment target for deadly brain tumors

DALLAS – Aug. 1, 2012 – A study by UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers published online today in Nature reveals new insight into why the most common, deadly kind of brain tumor in adults recurs and identifies a potential target for future therapies.

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) currently is considered incurable. Despite responding to initial therapy, the cancer almost always returns. GBM is a fast-growing, malignant brain tumor that occurred in 15 percent of the estimated 22,000 Americans diagnosed with brain and nervous system tumors in 2010. The median survival rate is about 15 months, according to the National Cancer Institute.

“We identified a subset of brain tumor cells that are slower growing or remain at rest, and appear to be the source of cancer recurrence after standard therapy in which the drug temozolomide is given to stop the tumor’s growth,” said Dr. Luis Parada, chairman of developmental biology and director of the Kent Waldrep Center for Basic Research on Nerve Growth and Regeneration. “Current therapy targets fast-growing tumor cells but not those responsible for new tumors. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first identification of a cancer stem-like cell in a spontaneously forming tumor inside a mammal.”

For more information, please click here to access the full news release from the University News Bureau at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

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