A new discovery in the field of oncology could have extraordinary ramifications when it comes to the treatment of brain cancer. The small synthetic chemical KHS101 has shown some remarkable properties fighting glioblastoma (GBM).
While exploring the therapeutic properties of KHS101 for neural differentiation, scientists from the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom found that it actually exerted cytotoxic activity among GMB cells. By interfering with the mitochondria, it effectively disrupted the whole metabolism of the tumor cell, cutting off its energy supply and leaving it to self-destroy.
The next test was to see if it can cross the blood-brain barrier, which it did successfully and showed significant decreases in tumor growth. The blood-brain barrier filters a lot of the essential biomolecules and can be an obstacle for therapeutic delivery. Thankfully, this was not the case.
The article reported that “the synthetic small-molecule KHS101 promoted tumor cell death in diverse GBM cell models, independent of their tumor subtype, and without affecting the viability of noncancerous brain cell lines.”
Glioblastoma is one of the most common and lethal forms of brain cancer. Highly aggressive, it has a five-year survival rate lower than 10%. In the United States, it accounts for 52% of all primary brain tumors and is responsible for an estimated 15.000 deaths each year.
Over the last few decades, progress in research has been slow and treatment has been pretty much unchanged. These findings could pave the way for a whole new generation of targeted treatments, more efficient and safer.