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Scientist works to improve treatment for brain tumors

' lack of oxygen affects the treatment. Hypoxia, a lack of oxygen in tissues that causes cell stress, is a characteristic common to all solid tumors and is known to interfere with standard therapies. Researchers aren't sure exactly what causes hypoxia ?one theory is that the blood vessels in tumors are underdeveloped compared to the needs of rapidly proliferating cells.

They also aren't sure how it affects treatment using cytotoxins. Do the hypoxic regions of a tumor need more or less drug treatment? Debinski, in collaboration with the laboratory of Costas Koumenis, Ph.D., will explore that question with the goal of identifying which area of the tumor to focus on to achieve maximum results. The drug is delivered to the tumor through small cathethers, allowing physicians to determine the amount and specific location of treatment.

"With the help of this research grant, we hope to optimize the clinical delivery of the advanced form of the drug," said Debinski.

Debinski directs the Wake Forest Brain Tumor Center of Excellence. The goal of the center, which was formed in 2003, is to find better treatments ?and one day a cure ?for malignant brain tumors. In addition to its focus on research, the center provides a comprehensive program for patient care, and is the first center in the state to offer Gamma Knife stereotactic radiosurgery, a knifeless approach to brain surgery and radiation therapy.


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Source:Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center


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