De Stasio adds that, for the treatment to be effective, gadolinium must be absent from normal cells and be present in the majority of the cancer cell nuclei. The first condition is well demonstrated by MRI, while the second was recently demonstrated using microscopy techniques at the Synchrotron Radiation Center (SRC) in Stoughton.
De Stasio, the first to introduce this technique into the biological and medical fields, is working to develop the therapy to treat GBM. In the current article, she and her colleagues prove that gadolinium reaches more than 90 percent of the cancer cell nuclei, using four different kinds of human glioblastoma cells in culture.
De Stasio developed and oversees the X-ray PhotoElectron Emission spectroMicroscopy (X-PEEM) program at UW Madison's SRC, where she also serves as interim scientific director.
The technology necessary for eventual treatment would involve miniature synchrotron light sources, which could be similar in size and cost to an MRI machine. De Stasio says the next steps will include animal and possibly human clinical trials.
"If we do see that we can cure animals from their cancers, then it's worth investigating the molecular biology of this drug and seeing what the uptake mechanism is," she says. "But first, you want to know that it works and that it really has potential for saving lives."
Because of the deadly nature of GBM, De Stasio says an alternative is desperately needed to current therapies that offer little promise for extending life. De Stasio says it will be a year before it is known whether the treatment works in animal models, and likely another five to ten years before clinical trials and available treatments would emerge.
While the human health payoff seems fa
Source:University of Wisconsin-Madison