Brigham and Women’s Hospital scientists have developed a microdevice to help researchers test the effectiveness of glioma treatments. Gliomas are a type of brain tumor that arise from glial cells in the spinal cord and brain before infiltrating surrounding brain cells.
Because the proximity of gliomas to healthy brain cells makes them hard to remove via surgery, glioma treatment often involves removing as much of the tumor via surgery before using chemotherapy or radiation therapy to kill off as many of the remaining cancer cells as possible. Furthermore, researchers find it extremely difficult to test the effects of different drug combinations on glioma cells because each patient can take only one treatment approach at a time, making further research into glioma treatments almost impossible.
The new microdevice from Brigham and Women’s Hospital is the size and shape of a rice grain and has the potential to enable several simultaneous studies on the effectiveness of different drugs against glioma tumors. Researchers designed the device as a standard-of-care surgery tool and published results from the microdevice’s pilot clinical trial in the “Science Translational Medicine” journal.
Study coprincipal investigator, corresponding author, and BWH and Harvard Medical School Department of Neurosurgery assistant professor Pier Paolo Peruzzi says the tools currently used to measure the impact of tumor treatments “just aren’t good enough. We need such tools to better understand which drugs respond in glioma patients as early as possible,” he said. Consequently, his team crafted the idea of “making every patient their own lab.”
Peruzzi explains that the microdevice essentially interrogates the tumor and gathers the information the physician needs. The device is implanted into the patient for two to three hours during surgery and administers small doses of up to 20 medications into tiny areas of the brain tumor. Physicians then remove the device as well as the surrounding tissue before the surgery is complete and take both samples back to the laboratory for further analysis.
Since the rice-grain-sized device carries out experiments in a live tumor that is still within the body, it gives researchers an unprecedented means of assessing the impact of different drugs on tumor cells. Peruzzi noted that the microdevice will give physicians “a whole new perspective” on how gliomas respond to treatments in real-time.
With almost 20,000 Americans diagnosed with gliomas every year, more effective therapies are needed to address the notoriously hard-to-treat brain cancers.
With the help of these micro-devices, the future brain cancer drugs made by enterprises such as CNS Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: CNSP) could become much more effective against malignancies that have previously been hard to treat.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to CNS Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: CNSP) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/CNSP
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