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Scientists have discovered a drug that gives unprecedented effectiveness in the fight against aggressive brain tumors, the so-called gliomas and an extraordinary hope of recovery. The drug was tested on mice that were completely cured of cancer. In addition, the invention of scientists has a protective effect on the body against future recurrences of the disease.

So far, no effective treatment for brain glioma has been found. This is a group of cancers that do not occur very often, but among tumors embedded inside the skull, gliomas account for as much as 70% of all cases. They attack children more often than adults, and their malignant variety is very dangerous. Unfortunately, the survival time with such a tumor in most patients is only about a year.

100% cancer cure

As it turns out, a group of scientists from John Hopkins University may be on the right track to discover the first effective drug for glioblastomas. The drug, which is being developed, has a very satisfactory effectiveness in the treatment of brain tumors in mice. The researchers reported that their gel preparation eliminates the aggressive form of glioma in 100%.

Prof. Betty Tyler, co-author of the study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, explains that the drug used so far has shown good survival rates in experiments, but the results achieved with the new gel are even more impressive than any before. Prof. Tyler describes, “We don't usually see 100% survival in mouse models of this disease. The prospect that a new combination of hydrogels could change the survival curve of glioblastoma patients is very exciting.”

Study Finds reports that the team led by Prof. Honggang Cui combined an anti-cancer drug and antibodies in a new drug. The resulting gel is filled in places after the surgical removal of a brain tumor. In this way, the drug has the opportunity to reach the remaining cancer cells that have not been removed during surgery. It is the difficulty of getting the drug into such places that is the greatest weakness of existing therapies. Unfortunately, due to the location of key elements of the brain, complete surgical excision of the tumor is often not possible. As a result, the tumors can recur in an even more malignant form.

As emphasized by prof. Cui, the new gel not only destroys cancer cells, but also seems to trigger the body's immune response, which begins an intense fight against glioblastoma. When cured mice were re-implanted with cancer cells, the researchers found that their immune systems were able to overcome the disease on their own without any additional drugs. This means that the scientists' invention can help reprogram the immune system, creating an immune memory that protects the body from relapse.

How long will we wait for a miracle cure?

However, there is a catch. For the drug to work in such a spectacular way, the tumor must be surgically removed immediately. Otherwise, the use of gel alone resulted in only 50% survival. As explained by prof. Cui: "Probably the surgery relieves the pressure on the body and gives the gel time to activate the immune system to fight cancer cells." Covering the site with the gel after removal of the tumor causes the drug to be released evenly over a period of several weeks. During this time, the active ingredients remain where they were placed.

The ingredients of the gel are paclitaxel nanoparticles, a drug used in breast and lung cancer therapies, as well as antibodies called aCD47. Thanks to this, scientists want to overcome one of the most difficult obstacles in the treatment of gliomas, i.e. macrophages. These cells support the body's immunity, but they can also protect cancer cells and thus facilitate aggressive tumor growth.

As Prof. Henry Brem, co-author of the study and one of the developers of the 1990s drug gliadel, the biggest challenge now is to transfer their discovery from the lab to clinical trials. We should be patient, because there is still a long way from creating a gel to developing a therapy for patients.

Until the ultimate cure is found, it's worth keeping an eye on your health and getting regular check-ups. Even a complete blood count can help detect cancer in its early stages. Let's remember that the early diagnosis of cancer gives a better chance of winning with it.

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