Scientists have identified a way to stop one of the most aggressive types of brain tumours from growing and spreading, which could improve patient survival. Glioblastoma is one of the most common types of malignant brain tumours in adults. They grow fast and can spread easily, researchers said. These tumours have thread-like tendrils that extend into other parts of the brain making it difficult to remove them all.
Researchers from the University of Southampton in the UK, have suggests that although there have been great advances made in the treatment of leukaemias and other cancers, little is known about how Glioblastomas are formed and how these tumours infiltrate the brain tissue. The study analysed how enzymes called ADAMs affect the movement and function of the human tumour cells.
The findings suggest that blocking specific enzymes called ADAM10 and ADAM17 stops the tumours from growing and spreading. It also moves the cancer cells away from the place where they were growing, which could allow them to be removed through traditional cancer treatments such as radiotherapy, surgery or chemotherapy, researchers said.
“When confirmed in animal models of glioblastoma, this finding will be of great importance for patients and clinicians,” said Sandrine Willaime-Morawek, from the University of Southampton. “Glioblastoma is a devastating disease which is often untreatable,” Willaime-Morawek said.
“We have found that blocking ADAMs may lead to reduced tumour growth and less recurrence following conventional treatments, improving the chance of complete surgical removal and improving survival rates,” she added. The study appears in the journal Molecular Neurobiology.