One of the most aggressive kinds of brain cancer is also one of the most common. Researchers may have found a way to battle Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).
A research team has identified a key component in the biology that drives many aggressive glioblastomas. This discovery may lead to new therapies for a disease that currently offers few treatment options.
Drugs could be developed to treat cancers that have too much of a protein known as PDGFR-alpha, which is overexpressed in a large proportion of GBMs. Patients who have too much of this protein usually have lower survival rates.
The study was designed and led by Bo Hu and Shi-Yuan Cheng of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. They found that PDGFR-alpha activity in gliblastoma cells triggered "a signaling cascade" that resulted in tumor cell growth and invasion.
By targeting one of these mechanisms, PDGFR-alpha was essentially shut down so that it could not promote tumor growth, invasion or survival.
This research was published in the November issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.