Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Molecular therapeutics advance fight against brain cancer

05.08.2004


An estimated 41,000 new cases of primary brain tumors are expected to be diagnosed in 2004, according to the American Brain Tumor Association. To further narrow the gap between diagnosis and effective therapy, physicians at the University of Pennsylvania Health System now offer several promising approaches to brain tumor treatment, including novel imaging for oncologic neurosurgery and refined genetic testing for tumors to better target treatment.

Through enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), newer and broader information is helping to better guide tumor removal. MRI is used to measure the anatomy and metabolism of tumors. This informs surgeons pre- and post-operatively with a three-dimensional map of tumor-associated blood flow to more precisely assess the full extent of tumor growth versus conventional imaging methods. "This novel approach helps guide surgery and assessment of treatment response," says Donald M. O’Rourke, M.D., Associate Professor of Neurosurgery. These novel imaging methods are leading to increased patient survival by allowing for greater tumor removal in a safe manner.

Neuroscientists are also ushering in a new era in which genetics will dictate treatment. In the 1990s researchers noted that a more favorable prognosis in patients with certain brain tumors, primarily oligodendrogliomas, was associated with a deletion of genes on chromosomes 1 and 19. This genetic loss translates into a significant life-expectancy gain for some patients and is therefore a robust predictor that post-surgery chemotherapy should be given to such patients.



Patients with the genetic deletion on chromosome 1 have a median survival in certain cases of about 10 years and respond particularly well to chemotherapy given immediately after surgery. Patients with the deletion have slower-growing tumors and show a better response to chemotherapy; whereas, those without the deletion have relatively faster-growing tumors and are less responsive to chemotherapy, so radiation therapy is required sooner. "Given the expected increase in the life-span of patients with this deletion, there is no need to give radiation therapy early in their treatment," explains O’Rourke.

The deletion can only be detected by genetic analysis. "Under the microscope these tumors can look identical, so there’s no way of knowing the difference unless a genetic analysis is performed," explains O’Rourke.

Having the ability to provide such genetic testing to determine treatment is of benefit to patients. "The idea of using a genetic test to predict prognosis and select therapy, thereby deferring potentially deleterious treatment is tremendously attractive," says O’Rourke. "Penn’s genetic testing is done in-house, so patients don’t have to wait for the results." Further, there is no cost to the patient at this point since the tests are performed by the Neuro-oncology Program and supported by the Abramson Cancer Center at Penn. In addition, there is no requirement for additional blood samples, so results will be given more quickly with no need for follow-up visits.

Penn colleagues J. Carl Oberholtzer, MD, PhD, Department of Neuropathology and Myrna Rosenfeld, MD, PhD, Department of Neurology and Director of the Division of Neuro-oncology as well as Jaclyn Biegel, PhD, Director of Cytogenetics, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, collaborated with O’Rourke on developing the genetic testing program. Dr. Biegel’s laboratory performs the genetic test and has significant experience with genetic testing of brain tumors.

O’Rourke is also Director of the Human Brain Tumor Tissue Bank at Penn, one of only a few such dedicated banks in the United States. Tissue banks allow for the direct evaluation of human tumors and are one of the best ways to advance treatment options for gliomas and other human cancers. O’Rourke’s basic research interests include finding new treatments for gliomas based on genetic alterations detected in tumors. He is currently investigating a variant of the epidermal growth factor receptor that is present in many primary glioblastomas to better understand the development of malignancy in the brain and how it relates to cancer cell division, survival, and movement.

Karen Kreeger | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.upenn.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cnidarians remotely control bacteria
21.09.2017 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

nachricht Immune cells may heal bleeding brain after strokes
21.09.2017 | NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Comet or asteroid? Hubble discovers that a unique object is a binary

21.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Cnidarians remotely control bacteria

21.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Monitoring the heart's mitochondria to predict cardiac arrest?

21.09.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>