While the treatment of cancer has improved significantly these past decade, brain metastases still have no cure. The clinical need for effective and targeted treatments continues to grow, as more patients are diagnosed with this fatal illness. New research recently discovered a protein found in brain tumors that may help prevent the disease from progressing. The study was led by Cláudia C. Faria, a neurosurgeon at CHULN-Hospital de Santa Maria.
The research determined that high levels of the UBE2C protein in brain metastases samples of patients suffering from different cancers was linked to worse prognosis. For their research, the scientists analyzed the general gene expression in samples of brain metastasis collected from 30 cancer patients, using RNA sequencing.
Faria, who is also a researcher in the laboratory of João Taborda Barata at the Instituto de Medicina Molecular, explained that after finding the gene originating the UBE2C protein, his team confirmed the clinical relevance of its discovery by analyzing a larger patient group. The larger group was made up of 89 patients who were also suffering from different types of cancer. The researchers discovered higher UBE2C levels, which they linked to a worse disease prognosis.
The researchers then used a mouse model to confirm their results, determining that high UBE2C levels did increase tumor cell spread in the central nervous system. They noted that this made the illness more difficult to treat as well as more aggressive. The scientists then looked into compounds that could regulate levels of UBE2C, identifying a small molecule inhibitor that reduced levels of this protein and prevented the spreading of tumor cells when it was administered during the early disease stages.
The study’s first author, Eunice Paisana, explained that the study’s main objective was to discover new therapeutic targets. The researchers did so by testing more than 600 drugs that had already been approved by the FDA for use by patients.
With regard to the study’s clinical relevance, Faria stated that brain tumors were the primary cause of mortality and morbidity linked to cancer, explaining that the prognosis was especially negative when cancerous cells spread to the central nervous system. This, she noted, was why it was so urgent to develop new treatments.
The researchers’ findings were published in the “Neuro-Oncology Advances” journal.
Other researchers involved include João T Barata, Rita Cascão, Nan Qin, Carlos Custódia, David Pauck, Daniel Picard, Pedro Ruivo, Tânia Carvalho, Delfim Doutel, Clara Barreto, José Cabeçadas, José Pimentel, Rafael Roque, José Miguéns and Marc Remke.
Other companies, such as CNS Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: CNSP), are focusing on discovering the next generation of brain cancer treatments. As all the different efforts in cancer research mesh, patients will most likely benefit as options open up where they had limited treated choices.
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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