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FDA approves first human neural stem cell clinical trial to treat brain tumors
Date:6/8/2010

DUARTE, Calif. -- City of Hope researchers received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to conduct the first-in-human study of a neural stem cell-based therapy targeting recurrent high-grade gliomas, the most aggressive type of brain tumor. Karen S. Aboody, M.D., associate professor in City of Hope's Department of Neurosciences, leads the research team that developed this treatment strategy. Jana Portnow, M.D., assistant professor and assistant director of the Brain Tumor Program at City of Hope, is the principal investigator for the clinical trial.

An estimated 22,500 Americans are diagnosed with malignant primary brain tumors annually, and more than 12,900 die each year from the disease. While survival rates vary with the type of brain tumor, median survival for glioblastoma, the most common type of glioma in adults, is only about 15 months. These tumors are highly invasive and ultimately resistant to current methods of treatment such as surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. One significant obstacle to curing brain tumors is the presence of the blood-brain barrier which can prevent chemotherapy agents from entering into the brain and reaching effective concentrations at tumor sites.

"This first-in-human clinical trial of a neural stem cell-based therapy that we developed at City of Hope is an investigational, targeted treatment option for recurrent high-grade glioma patients," said Aboody. "Furthermore, we envision the eventual development of neural stem cells as a platform technology for targeting multiple therapeutic agents to brain tumors, as well as other metastatic solid tumors inside and outside the brain."

Aboody and her colleagues were the first to demonstrate in 2000 the inherent propensity of neural stem cells to home in on invasive tumor cells, also known as tropism, even migrating from the opposite side of the brain or across the blood-brain barrier. Aboody's research team has since harnessed the
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Contact: Shawn Le
sle@coh.org
800-888-5323
City of Hope
Source:Eurekalert

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