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Why don't brain tumors respond to medication?
Date:9/1/2009

ve target for receptor-specific therapy. Fortunately, an already-existing drug, Mapatumumab, an antibody protein, binds directly to the receptor and can trigger the death of the cell. This drug is currently being tested in a number of clinical studies (Phase II) for other solid tumors, e.g. lung cancer.

New approach for a specific therapy for brain tumor cells

For gliomas, treatment with Mapatumumab appears to be particularly interesting as the death receptor is usually found only on tumor cells, not on other brain cells. Since glioma growth is especially invasive into brain tissue, surgical removal is impossible and chemotherapy is very difficult. Chemotherapy with Mapatumumab could reach all tumor cells and kill them while sparing healthy brain cells without receptors.

In cell culture trials, the researchers have already been successful in reversing methylation and making the "death receptors" functional again tumor cells reacted to the drugs and died off. If gene expression was again suppressed, the cells became resistant again.

"Therapies that are capable to switch on specific individual genes by these manipulations do not yet exist. But being aware of the tumor markers can point the way for the development of new therapies whose goal is gene manipulation," explained Dr. Wolf Mller. Targeted examinations of tumor tissue prior to therapy can now make it possible to identify patients with an intact death receptor. These patients have good conditions for benefiting from the promising therapy, while other patients would at least be spared the side effects of useless treatment.


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Contact: Dr. Wolf C. Mller
Wolf.Mueller@med.uni-heidelberg.de
062-215-639-912
University Hospital Heidelberg
Source:Eurekalert

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