This Molecule Could be the Key to Treating Childhood Brain Cancer

According to a story from Neuroscience News, researchers have begun to test the effectiveness of a certain molecule in fighting against childhood brain cancers, such as medulloblastoma. It has the potential to give patients a new approach for treating these rare and deadly cancers that often exhibit little response to current treatment methods.
While overall childhood brain cancer is rare, kids are susceptible to different kinds of brain cancer when compared to adults. In the experiment, the molecule, called 6-thio-dG, was tested against several different kinds of brain cancer, such as intrinsic pontine glioma, medulloblastoma, and high-grade glioma. Medulloblastoma is the most common type of brain cancer that affects children.
Brain cancers of all types are generally more difficult to treat than other kinds of cancer for several reasons. First of all, the brain, for all its wonders, is a fragile organ that has only a limited ability to heal itself. Therefore, a treatment that would be safe to use against cancer located in a different area would be dangerous because of potential brain damaging effects. Another consideration is the challenge of getting drugs to the tumor effectively; many cancer drugs cannot cross the blood-brain barrier, meaning that they would have no effect on a brain tumor.
However, 6-thio-dG does not have this problem and can cross the barrier effectively. It is also a targeted therapy, and therefore does not present a risk of causing damage to healthy brain tissue. In mouse models, the molecule was able to inflict major DNA to cancer cells and was able to slow or stop the progression of two variants of brain cancer that are widely considered untreatable. Benefits from the molecule also persisted even after treatment was discontinued.
These preliminary lab results definitely look promising, but the researchers emphasize that more study will be necessary in order to ensure that 6-thio-dG is still safe and effective over the long term. 6-thio-dG represents a unique treatment approach that is able to compensate for the traditional limitations that make treating brain cancers such a challenge, but only dutiful research will be able to determine if it will be a viable drug.

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