Tuesday, July 2, 2013

“Promising Target Found in Treating Deadly Brain Cancer” (GBM)

That was the headline of July 1st ScienceDaily.com article that got me hopeful.

Here’s the lead paragraph of the article: “Researchers at the University of Virginia Cancer Center have identified a promising target for treating glioblastoma, one that appears to avoid many of the obstacles that typically frustrate efforts to develop effective treatments for this deadliest of cancers.”

Further down the article notes that "Glioblastoma is difficult to treat because it is persistent, aggressive and resourceful. Efforts to block its pathways are often unsuccessful because the cancer simply uses others. That has researchers looking for ways to inhibit multiple pathways at once, or targeting critical signaling nodes that control multiple pathways."

But there's promising, if not outright good news.

"We're finding that we're not having a lot of luck, often, when we just inhibit a single target in cancer cells, so we're really interested in finding targets specific targets that control many pathways to cancer," Purow explained. And he thinks he's found one: Diacylglycerol kinase alpha. By targeting this lipid-modifying enzyme, the UVA researchers believe, they can inhibit and kill glioblastoma cells and other forms of cancer, such as melanoma.

"This is an exciting new target in cancer," said UVA's Benjamin W. Purow, MD. "It seems to have potential not just for brain tumors but for other cancers as well. We think it has activity on its own, but also in combination with other cancer therapies."

Image credit: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/photo_9151986_an-illustrated-dna-strand-with-the-words-brain-cancer-embedded-in-the-chain-symbolizing-the-disease-.html'>iqoncept / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

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