Korean Research Team Pioneers Method That Could Personalize Treatment for Glioblastoma

According to a story from Korean Biomedical Review, a team of researchers from Seoul National University, headed by professor Paek Sun-ha, have developed an approach utilizing 3D cell printing technology that could help doctors determine the most useful approach to treatment for patients with glioblastoma, a rare and deadly form of brain cancer. 

About Glioblastoma

Glioblastoma is a rare brain cancer. It is also the most aggressive cancer to originate in the brain. It is characterized by its rapid progression and poor response to most treatments. In most cases, the cause of glioblastoma is not known. A small number of cases evolve from another type of tumor called an astrocytoma. Risk factors for glioblastoma include genetic disorders such as Turcot syndrome and neurofibromatosis, exposure to pesticides, smoking, and a career in petroleum refining or rubber manufacture. Symptoms of glioblastoma include personality changes, headaches, memory loss, seizures, vomiting, and nausea; patients may lose consciousness in late stages. Treatment approaches include anticonvulsants, steroids, chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. While a small number of patients can survive for several years, treatment is often ineffective, with the tumor relapsing quickly. Five year survival rate is only three percent. To learn more about glioblastoma, click here.

About The Study

The approach began by extracting glioblastoma cells from two patients: one that had seen some disease response from chemotherapy and another whose cancer had continued to progress. Using a 3D cell printed chip, the team cultured more copies of the extracted cells. This served as a replica of the glioblastoma cancer environment. This replica was more effectively able to reproduce the pathological features of the tumor when compared to typical in-vitro cell culture techniques.

To confirm its accuracy, the team was able to replicate the same disease response to treatment. The survival rate of cancer cells from the patient that responded to therapy was 40 percent and in the cells from the other the survival rate was over 53 percent. The team also tested other treatments with the chip, and with a predetermined “optimal combination” the cell survival rate was just 23 percent.

The cell chip technology could help in the development of new therapies for glioblastoma and in testing the ideal treatment approach for each patient on a case by case basis.

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