Glioblastoma is an aggressive form of brain cancer that has a 5 years survival rate in less than 5% of cases. About 23,000 adults had been diagnosed with brain tumors in the year 2015 in the US; 50% of these cases were of glioblastoma.
During experimentation with various chemicals that could show some action against Glioblastoma, British researchers discovered KHS101. The chemical is synthetic and performed extremely well against brain cancer cells, actually succeeding in destroying them completely.
The researchers from the University of Leeds studied the functioning of this chemical. It has the tendency to disrupt mitochondria as well as metabolism of brain cancer cells. In other words, cancer cells lacked the access to energy and ultimately, got destroyed by themselves.
Dr. Heiko Wurdak, leader of the international research team, calls it yet a first step in the long process, he hopes that it paves way for drug makers to inquire more into the benefits of this chemical and progressing it into a clinic to save many people lives.
Blood-brain barrier is made up of closely spaced cells, making a close network of blood vessels and tissue, surrounding the head, preventing any harmful substance from crossing it. It lets in necessary substances like water, carbon dioxide, oxygen, common general anesthetics but it blocks out bacteria and substances like any anticancer drugs as well. Wurdak and his team transferred human tumor cells to mice, in order to investigate KHS101’s ability to cross this blood-brain barrier.
It was found that KHS101 could cross the barrier easily in mice, as well as reducing the tumors size by fifty percent, in contrast to those mice given a placebo. The chemical did not affect normal healthy brain cells.
Professor Richard Gilbertson from Cancer Research UK emphasizes upon the need to investigate drugs like KHS101 as for decades, glioblastoma treatment has not been updated. He claims further thorough testing and its refinement is required before clinical trials with people can be begin.
If scientists further understand more about KHS101, chances are it could help them synthesize similar drugs that can show a wider range of treatment for brain cancers.