A recent study conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins has found that a hydrogel administered in mice with glioblastoma cured the illness completely. This finding provides new hope for patients suffering from this aggressive brain cancer, which has an average life expectancy of 15 months.
The lead author of the study, associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering Honggang Cui, stated that there was a critical need for new therapy strategies for this cancer, noting that this new gel could supplement conventional treatments. To develop the gel, Cui and his team of researchers mixed an antibody and an anticancer medication in a solution that could fill the minute spaces left after a tumor was removed surgically.
The antibody, a CD47, targets macrophages, which sometimes protect cancer cells and facilitate tumor growth but also support immunity on other occasions. The anticancer drug used, paclitaxel, has been approved by the FDA for lung, breast and other cancers.
This is the first time this combination has been administered simultaneously as researchers have in the past found it hard to combine antibodies and anticancer medications due to the molecular composition of their ingredients. The gel worked by evenly covering the tumor cavity then steadily releasing the drug.
The researchers explained that the gel could also reach difficult areas in the brain, which would help suppress tumor growth and eliminate lingering cells. In addition to this, they observed that it activated an immune response that the mouse’s body struggled to set off on its own when fighting this cancer.
In their report, the team noted that surgery was still needed as the gel’s application directly in the brain without tumor removal resulted in a 50% rate of survival. Cui argued that surgery eased some of the pressure and gave the gel more time to trigger the immune system and eliminate the cancer cells.
Associate professor of neurosurgery at the institution and study coauthor Betty Tyler noted that the results achieved were impressive, adding that this combination had the potential to alter the survival curve for patients with glioblastoma. Another study coauthor, Professor Henry Brem pointed out that the onus was now on them to translate the results into treatments with significant clinical impacts.
The researchers’ findings were reported in “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.”
Other researchers involved include Feihu Wang, Jung Soo Suk, Qian Huang, Yun Guan, Hao Su, Han Wang, Mingjiao Sun, Riccardo Serra, Zeyu Wang, Ziqi Chen, Noah Gorelick, Mengzhen Zheng, Zongyuan Wang, Rami W. Chakroun, Daiqing Chen, Justin Hanes and Maya K. Monroe.
Several other entities, including CNS Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: CNSP), are also doing research exploring different approaches to treating different forms of brain cancer more effectively. There is hope that major breakthroughs could soon become available to cancer patients as a result of these efforts.
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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