Combining radiation with an agent that blocks VEGF, a protein that promotes the development of blood vessels and the growth of cancerous tumors – a process known as angiogenesis – may be more effective against brain tumors than either treatment alone, researchers at Jefferson Medical College have found.
Scientists led by Phyllis Wachsberger, Ph.D., assistant professor of radiation oncology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, and Adam Dicker, M.D., associate professor of radiation oncology at Jefferson Medical College, looked at whether adding radiation changed the effectiveness of a drug called VEGF Trap on the growth of a common brain tumor, glioblastoma, in a mouse model. VEGF Trap is a protein engineered to block VEGF activity. The particular type of brain tumor expresses high levels of VEGF and is resistant to treatment with many other antiangiogenic drugs.
According to Dr. Dicker, who is also director of the Division of Experimental Radiation Oncology at Jefferson’s Kimmel Cancer Center, the findings indicate that radiation may in many cases substantially enhance the drug’s anti-tumor activity. In fact, research results from Jefferson and other laboratories indicate that VEGF Trap may be as much as 1,000 times more potent in controlling cancerous tumor growth than angiogenesis inhibitors now under review by the Food and Drug Administration, he says.
Steven Benowitz | TJUH
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