Malaria Drug May Help Treat Brain Cancer

Sep, 2021 - By SMI

Malaria Drug May Help Treat Brain Cancer

GBM patients treated with the standard of care have a five-year survival rate of less than 6%, and no current treatment prevents recurrence.

One of the most aggressive types of brain cancer is Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), and it has a very poor survival rate. Thus, it requires new and better-quality treatment. However, now, the research team from Virginia Commonwealth University has uncovered a promising tool in this regard. According to the team, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved malaria drug can help boost the effectiveness of existing brain cancer treatments, especially GBM. The current standard of care associated with anti-cancer chemotherapy, radiation and temozolomide, glioblastoma may slightly prolong the lives of patients with brain tumors.

GBM resistance to these treatments is a frequent phenomenon. Moreover, GBM patients treated with the standard of care have a five-year survival rate of less than 6%, and no current treatment prevents recurrence. The team has focused on the discovery of FDA-approved drugs and more unusual agents that can help with resistance to potential glioblastoma and effectiveness of the treatment. The research has noted a new promising application of malarial drug as a potential therapy for GBM, resistant to standard of caregiver radiation and temozolomide.

The discovery rests on a new understanding of a certain genetic element, named Fli-1, which plays into resistance to therapy of GBM. The researchers found that the expression Fli-1 is a key protein in GBM named HSPB1, or heat shock protein B1, or allowing researchers to intervene and limit their development. However, they introduced some new possibilities. Moreover, the team observed a high expression of Fli-1 in other types of cancers such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and melanoma. The team hopes that lumefantrine (anti-malarial drug) may also play an important role in increasing the effectiveness of other cancer treatments. The research was published in the PNAS journal.

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