Posted on Feb 20, 2014

Brain cancer is known as one of the most serious types of cancer today. It is extremely difficult to treat as the brain is quite delicate and surgeons have difficulty accessing certain tumors without rupturing sensitive nerves and pathways. But now there might be a new treatment for the deadliest form of brain cancer.

CBS news reports on the new treatment.

The new treatment is for the often fatal glioblastoma brain tumors. Researchers have found a way to target the manner in which the cancer spreads to thwart it before it thrives. The treatment actually targets the mechanism, which makes the cancer spread, and turns it against itself.

“The new treatment approach keeps cancer drugs out of the brain by directing tumor cells along an artificial track that leads them to tumor drugs, sparing healthy brain tissue that’s often damaged by treatment. The team designed an alternative fiber out of a polymer called polycaprolactone (PCL) surrounded by flexible polyurethane that mimics the surfaces of nerves and blood vessels that glioblastoma cells would typically follow. The fibers are about half the diameter of human hair. Instead of guiding the cancers to different areas of the brain, the track takes the cells to a ‘tumor collector’ gel located outside of the brain containing a drug called cyclopamine, which is toxic to cancer,” according to CBS.  

The physician who led the research project on the treatment plan explains, “One attraction about the approach is that it is purely a device. Treating these cancers with minimally invasive films could be a lot less dangerous than deploying pharmaceutical chemicals. Cancer cells normally latch onto these natural structures and ride them like a monorail to other parts of the brain. By providing an attractive alternative fiber, we can efficiently move the tumors along a different path to a destination that we choose.”

Statistics show that about half of all patients who are diagnosed with glioblastoma tumors die; around 10,000 people are diagnosed with the deadly illness yearly. Any treatment plan is welcome. The Food and Drug Administration requires that more testing be done before the treatment can be put in effect.

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Gerry Oginski
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