The team discovered a method to temporarily weaken the blood-brain barrier, allowing selected chemotherapy drugs to enter parts of the brain.
A research group led by Dr. Patrick Hsieh of the Institute of Biomedical Sciences at Academia Sinica in Taiwan have developed a new method for the treatment of one of the deadliest forms of brain cancer.
Treating brain diseases is extremely challenging due to the presence of the blood-brain barrier (BBB), which prevents 98 percent of clinically prescribed drugs from entering the brain.
As a result, the median survival rate for a patient with glioblastoma multiforme, a severe form of brain cancer, is less than 1.5 years after diagnosis.
The team discovered a method to temporarily weaken the BBB, thereby allowing selected chemotherapy drugs to enter the parts of the brain where the tumour needs to be treated. In experiments with mice, this discovery was shown to have delay tumour progression and extend survival rates by more than 30 percent.
The findings were also confirmed in Taiwanese mini-pigs from Orchid Island. As Dr. Hsieh pointed out, “Quite often, findings from mice cannot be successfully scaled up to larger animals. The fact that we could observe the same effects in pigs is a great sign that this technique could also be successful with human patients.”
Their findings were published in ACS Nano. [APBN]