New Solution Stops a Brain Cancer (Glioblastoma) Spread


Virginia Tech researchers led by assistant professor Jennifer Munson are testing the capabilities of AMD3100, a drug already described as “game changer”. It showed significant effectiveness in preventing glioma cells from invading the rest of the brain in convection-enhanced delivery treatments and could soon become part of standard procedure.

In an article published in Scientific Reports, Munson describes how “interstitial fluid flow, a factor characteristically increased in cancer, increases glioma cell invasion through CXCR4-CXCL12 signaling. (…) targeting flow-stimulated invasion may prove beneficial as a second line of therapy, particularly in patients chosen to receive treatment by convection-enhanced delivery”.

Glioblastoma is characterized by aggressive growth, especially towards parenchyma, and particularly negative outcomes. It generally causes tumors that are difficult to resect and also have increased resistance to radiation and chemotherapy.

It [glioblastoma] is so deadly, and there hasn’t been a shift in treatment response in decades. Something needs to change”, said Munson. “With my expertise and looking at fluid flow, maybe there’s an answer there that we haven’t seen.”

Chase Cornelison, a post-doctoral researcher at VT and one of the co-authors added: “I am hopeful that since the drug that we used to block flow stimulation is currently used in patients that maybe clinicians, when they do consider using convection enhanced delivery, will combine that with this drug.”

Convection enhanced delivery (CED) is an experimental technique used in clinical conditions to alleviate high intra-tumoral pressure and increase drug distribution via local infusion. A drug-laden solution is infused directly into the center of the tumor through a blunt needle.

The procedure could represent a considerable step forward not only for glioblastoma, but many other cancer treatments also.

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