As reported by MSN, researchers have discovered that the blood vessels feeding aggressive brain tumors can be useful.
The blood vessels have receptors that contain nanoparticles that can be used to remove the energy the tumors depend on to grow and spread. This mechanism could be used to interrupt the growth of tumors and even kill them.
The scientists are optimistic about a new experimental drug’s potential to target diffuse midline gliomas which are all grade four cancerous and fast-growing tumors. Gliomas are common brain tumors that originate from the brain’s glial cells.
These deep-rooted tumors usually develop in childhood. There are no effective drugs currently available to target them.
ONC201 had looked promising for the treatment of DMGs that harbored the H3K27M mutation. Studies showed that it could pass through the blood-brain barrier which is a quasi-safety net to protect the brain and it makes delivering drugs very difficult.
Based on some of the successes of ONC201, an international research team went ahead and conducted two trials using a dopamine receptor blocker.
The team collected cerebrospinal fluid taken from patients in order to better understand ONC201’s functioning. It was discovered that the ‘power plants’ (mitochondria) of cancer cells were affected and thereby increased the levels of L-2HG, a metabolite.
One group of volunteers consisted of 30 children and adolescents who had DMG while the second group was mixed and included 40 adults.
Michigan’s Carl Koschmann, neuro-oncologist gave an explanation for the team’s optimism. He explained that to date there have been 250 trials but no positive outcomes. The interest in ONC201 was renewed and two clinical studies were conducted.
Scientists from Duke University and Nottingham University found that a number of blood vessels feeding glioma brain tumors contain elevated levels of LDL receptors. These findings facilitate the use of drugs that have already been developed. They could target the receptors and be absorbed by the tumors.
The results of the study have been published in the journal Cancer Discovery.