A cellular pathway that cancer stem cells use to promote tumour growth in malignant glioma, an aggressive brain tumour, has been identified by Cleveland Clinic researchers.
The research also found that existing medications block this cancer-promoting pathway and delay glioma growth in animal models, suggesting a new treatment option for these often fatal brain tumours.
For patients with the most severe, aggressive form of malignant glioma median survival is 9 to 15 months with the best available therapies. These treatments include surgery followed by radiation therapy with the chemotherapy temozolomide followed by additional temozolomide treatment.
Although differences in tumours between people were known to exist, researchers have only recently begun to understand the importance of differences between cancer cells within the same patient. Groups of cells within a glioma, which promote brain tumor formation in animal models -called cancer stem cells - have been identified. These cancer stem cells are often resistant to radiation and chemotherapy, making them an important target for developing new and effective disease treatments.he study is detailed in the Cell.