Screening glioblastoma brain tumors for two gene variations can reliably predict which tumors will respond to a specific class of drugs, a new study shows. The findings may lead to improved treatment for this devastating disease. The study was funded in part by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and appears in the November 10, 2005, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.*
Glioblastomas are the most common malignant brain tumors in adults, and they are notoriously difficult to treat successfully. "The survival with glioblastoma is usually a year on average, and that hasnt improved in a while, so this is a very serious and challenging disease," says Paul Mischel, M.D., of the David Geffen School of Medicine and Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), who led the study. While drugs are available to help treat glioblastoma, they often have minimal effect, and doctors usually have time to try only one or two treatments before the disease causes severe impairment. Glioblastomas feature many genetic variations that affect their response to different treatments. Researchers are trying to identify these genetic factors and to tease apart how they affect the disease in order to determine which patients are the most likely to benefit from specific drugs.
In the new study, Dr. Mischel and his colleagues performed genetic analysis on tissue from recurrent malignant glioblastoma patients, 26 of whom responded either very well or very poorly to the drugs erlotinib (Tarceva®) and gefitinib (Iressa®). These two drugs belong to a class called EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) kinase inhibitors, and both are currently approved by the by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat advanced lung cancer that has not responded to other treatments.
Natalie Frazin | EurekAlert!
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A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.
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A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.
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For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
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Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
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