Being that cancer is one of the deadliest diseases in the United States today many scientists have been tirelessly working to find a solution. A couple of groups of scientists have made some great findings recently, particularly in the area of brain cancer.

Fox news reports on the new developments in brain cancer therapy.

Researchers are saying that even if you have deadly genes that can cause you to develop brain cancer, you still might be able to find a way out. The news can be helpful for potential glioblastoma patients.

How common is this form of brain cancer?

Experts say that around 16,000 new cases of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a deadly and incurable brain tumor, are diagnosed each year in the United States.

How many people survive?

The average survival rate is only 14 to 16 months. 

A research team at Northwestern University has found a better way to deal with glioblastoma than the current method, which is trying to treat it via chemotherapy drugs. The experts say they have come up with a treatment plan that can stop the source that creates glioblastoma cancer cells.

What is this new factor that can blast away glioblastoma?

Scientists found that the molecule miR-182 suppressed tumors and decreased the expression of multiple oncogenes that cause cancer to progress.

Fox explains, “The molecule works by blocking cancer cell death in response to radiation and chemo, according to a news release. MiR-182 is a microRNA that can bind to hundreds of genes to reduce their protein expression in cells. Human gliobastoma multiforme patients with greater levels of miR-182 also have higher survival rates than those with lower levels.”

The Northwestern team published their research on Thursday in the journal Genes and Development. How was the study conducted? The researchers utilized a nanostructure called spherical nucleic acids (SNAs) to transport miR-182 across the blood-brain barrier and target multiple oncogenes. This process lead to cancer cell death and prevented their expansion.

Dr. Stegh, the senior author of the study and a neurology professor at Northwestern’s School of Medicine commented on the findings.

He said, “SNAs, which are comprised of DNA and RNA located around a nanoparticle center, are a very promising platform to silence the particular genes that drive or contribute to cancer progression in individual patients. Study co-author Chad Mirkin, a medicine professor at Northwestern, invented SNAs, a technique that prevents toxicity or activation of the immune system. Our approach to gene silencing has not been demonstrated before in such a powerful way for the treatment of brain cancers. These particles, microRNA-based SNAs, could also potentially be used for gene silencing in other cancers and diseases of genetic origin.”

The authors of the study have stated that continuing research will include testing miR-182 with the nanoparticle delivery in human patients. However, before that becomes an option for glioblastoma multiforme patients, Dr. Stegh and his team plan to scrutinize treatments that combine miR-182 and chemotherapy in mice.

Fox news also reported on a development in rectal cancer. Researchers have found that minimally invasive surgery is indeed appropriate for treating rectal cancer.

Researchers found that people having surgery for rectal cancer fare just as well whether they have conventional or minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery. The new comparative study involved over a thousand participants.

“However, when the tumor is in the lower rectum, laparoscopic surgery seems better, according to the results in the New England Journal of Medicine. Overall survival rates were 86.7 percent when the surgery was done with just a few puncture holes in the body versus 83.6 percent when the abdomen was opened up,” according to Fox.


Gerry Oginski
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