Combinatorial glioblastoma treatment destroys incurable brain tumour

glioblastoma treatment
© iStock/Tonpor Kasa

Novel research has devised an innovative glioblastoma treatment, finding that combining two existing therapies can eliminate fatal brain tumours.

The endeavour, led by researchers at the Institute of Biomedicine of Seville, in collaboration with experts from Imperial College London, has identified that dual implementation of ADI-PEG20 and focal brain radiotherapy is a promising glioblastoma treatment. This double treatment was demonstrated to entirely eradicate tumours in the animal models used in the study.

The study’s findings are published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Glioblastoma treatment innovation

Glioblastoma is a terminal disease, with patients with the condition having a life expectancy of fewer than two years. Currently employed glioblastoma treatments are based on outdated therapies that are over 30 years old, with no significant advances being made in this time to combat this deadly type of tumour.

The team’s investigation offers an exciting new glioblastoma treatment option, comprised of a drug called ADI-PEG20 that destroys systemic arginine and the application of focal brain radiotherapy. The researchers observed that the novel therapy entirely eliminated a type of brain tumour that, to date, was known to be completely incurable. The research was performed on in vivo animal models that had died of natural causes without showing any manifestation of the disease.

Dr Manuel Sarmiento Soto, a researcher at the Institute of Biomedicine of Seville, commented: “With this new treatment, we were able to cure animals of an aggressive and terminal disease. The post-mortem analyses detected how the cerebral immune response, and fundamentally the microglia cells, were activated during the treatment, directing their attack against the tumour cells, and thus facilitating the tumour’s complete elimination”.

Next steps

The results of the study provide hope for thousands of people around the world who are living with this deadly type of tumour, especially due to the fact that even because novel anticancer drugs have displayed promise, their efficacy in the central nervous system is currently very limited, primarily due to their difficulty in reaching the cancer cells located inside the brain.

Moreover, there is also another clinical trial – NCT04587830 – that is examining another specific type of glioblastoma patient using the same glioblastoma treatment used in this trial and is achieving promising results. Notably, the drug did not manifest any side effects in the patients involved in the trial. The researchers are looking to start recruiting the first patients to start their Phase I clinical trial in the coming months.

This research was funded by projects of the Ministry of Science and Innovation (RTI2018-098645-B-I00) and the Ministry of Economy and Knowledge of the Andalusia Regional Government (P18-RT-1372). In addition, Brain Tumour Research, a UK charity aiming to find a cure for all types of brain tumours, also provided funding.

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