Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Enhanced treatment of brain tumors

Date:
November 28, 2011
Source:
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Summary:
Scientists have tested a combination of radiation treatment and a substance that blocks the transforming growth factor beta for treating glioblastoma. In the mouse model, this combination therapy was found to be more effective in slowing down the growth of such malignant brain tumors and to prolong survival of the animals.

MRT-Image of a glioblastoma.
Credit: © Dr. Alexander Radbruch, Lars Gerigk, Abt. Radiologie, Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum

Scientists of the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and Heidelberg University Hospitals have tested a combination of radiation treatment and a substance that blocks the transforming growth factor beta (TGF- β) for treating glioblastoma. In the mouse model, this combination therapy was found to be more effective in slowing down the growth of such malignant brain tumors and to prolong survival of the animals. Researchers will now conduct a multicenter clinical trial to find out whether patients might also benefit from a combination of radiotherapy, chemotherapy and growth factor blocking.

Related Articles


Glioblastoma is regarded as the most malignant form of brain tumor. In many cases, neurosurgeons are not able to remove such tumors completely because of the risk of destroying too much brain tissue in the process. Moreover, it is often impossible to identify all the fine extensions by which the tumor spreads into surrounding healthy tissue. To at least slow down the growth of tumor cells that have remained in the head, almost all glioblastoma patients are treated by radiotherapy after surgery.

"Unfortunately, we can only delay cancerous growth in this way, but we cannot cure patients. The tumor cells, especially the cancer stem cells, are very resistant to radiation," says Prof. Dr. Dr. Peter Huber, who is head of the Clinical Cooperation Unit 'Radiation Oncology' at the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ).

Studies conducted in recent years found that response to radiation therapy in various cancers is better when certain types of cellular growth factors are blocked at the same time. Glioblastoma cells often produce large amounts of a growth factor called TGF-β (transforming growth factor beta). High levels of TGF-β in these tumors are correlated with particularly aggressive growth and a poor prognosis. In addition, the factor seems to support the self-renewal capability of glioblastoma stem cells. "We therefore suspect that blocking TGF-β signaling pathways slows down the self-renewal of cancer stem cells and, thus, may improve radiation treatment outcomes," Peter Huber adds, explaining the background of the study now published.

In collaboration with colleagues from, among others, the Radiology Department of Heidelberg University Hospitals and a DKFZ department led by Prof. Dr. Ana Villalba, Huber's team investigated the effect of a combination of radiation treatment and a newly developed substance called LY2109761. This substance blocks the signals that are transmitted into cells by the TGF-β receptor. The investigators first studied glioblastoma cells in tissue samples taken during surgical removal of the tumors. Irradiation combined with adding the substance reduced the self-renewal capability of tumor stem cells and delayed their growth significantly better than radiation treatment alone.

The group transplanted human glioblastoma cells into the brains of mice and found that these animals, after receiving the combination therapy, survived longer than those animals treated by radiotherapy alone. Tissue studies showed that, under the combination therapy, tumors grew more slowly and less invasively and showed a lower density of newly formed blood vessels. "Paradoxically, radiation therapy can provoke aggressive growth behavior in surviving tumor cells. LY2109761 seems to prevent this fatal effect," says Huber, explaining how the drug seems to work.

Blocking of TGF-β signaling produced such promising results that researchers will now conduct a multicenter clinical trial to find out whether this mechanism may also slow down glioblastoma growth in patients more effectively than the current standard treatment. Led by Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Wick, who is head of a collaboration unit of DKFZ and the Neurology Department of Heidelberg University Hospitals, the combination therapy will be tested in Germany (Heidelberg), Spain, and the U.S.A.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. Zhang, S. Kleber, M. Rohrich, C. Timke, N. Han, J. Tuettenberg, A. Martin-Villalba, J. Debus, P. Peschke, U. Wirkner, M. Lahn, P. E. Huber. Blockade of TGF-  Signaling by the TGF R-I Kinase Inhibitor LY2109761 Enhances Radiation Response and Prolongs Survival in Glioblastoma. Cancer Research, 2011; DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-11-1212

Cite This Page:

Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. "Enhanced treatment of brain tumors." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 November 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111123133356.htm>.
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. (2011, November 28). Enhanced treatment of brain tumors. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111123133356.htm
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. "Enhanced treatment of brain tumors." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111123133356.htm (accessed March 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

AFP (Mar. 28, 2015) — Sierra Leone imposed a three-day nationwide lockdown Friday for the second time in six months in a bid to prevent a resurgence of the deadly Ebola virus. Duration: 01:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) — A popular class of antibiotic can leave patients in severe pain and even result in permanent nerve damage. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WH Plan to Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Germs

WH Plan to Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Germs

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) — The White House on Friday announced a five-year plan to fight the threat posed by antibiotic-resistant bacteria amid fears that once-treatable germs could become deadly. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) — In rare bipartisan harmony, congressional leaders pushed a $214 billion bill permanently blocking physician Medicare cuts toward House passage Thursday, moving lawmakers closer to resolving a problem that has plagued them for years. (March 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins