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New Carrier Developed To Deliver Drugs to Gliomas

A new vehicle for delivering radioactive iodine dose to cure deadly brain tumors such as gliomas is under investigation.//

Synthetic scorpion venom is used as carriers for radioactive iodine. The first phase of the clinical trials is successfully complete and was conducted by under Adam N. Mamelak, M.D., a neurosurgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center's Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute. About 18 patients participated in the trial and it was found to very safe. Now a larger phase two trial is underway to assess the effectiveness of multiple doses. The main advantage of this novel technique is that it does not affect the neighboring tissues or body organs. The study results are published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The key ingredient is TM-601, a synthetic version of a peptide, or protein particle, which naturally occurs in the venom of the Giant Yellow Israeli scorpion.

TM-601 binds to glioma cells and has an unusual ability to pass through the blood-brain barrier that blocks most substances from reaching brain tissue from the bloodstream. ‘We're using the TM-601 primarily as a carrier to transport radioactive iodine to glioma cells, although there are data to suggest that it may also slow down the growth of tumor cells. If studies continue to confirm this, we may be able to use it in conjunction with other treatments, such as chemotherapy, because there may be a synergistic effect. In other words, TM-601's ability to impede cancer growth could allow us to reduce the dose of chemotherapy to achieve a therapeutic effect,’ said Mamelak, who serves as co-director of the Pituitary Center at Cedars-Sinai.

About 17,000 Americans are diagnosed with gliomas each year. The tumors are extremely aggressive and deadly, with only eight percent of patients surviving two years and three percent surviving five years from time of diagnosis. Even when surgery is performed to remove a glioma, some cancer cells invariably remain behind and pro
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