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New drug could destroy the deadliest brain tumours, study suggests


Glioblastomas describe brain tumors that are fast growing and aggressive and often incurable.

The deadly brain tumors claim around 2,500 new victims each year in the UK alone, and only seven percent of patients survive the diagnosis.

Glioblastomas claimed the lives of The Wanted singer Tom Parker and the eldest son of the US President, Beau Biden.

Sadly, most patients succumb to the condition within two years and few make it past five years – a statistic that has not improved over the years.

However, a new study, published in the journal in Scienceoffers a glimmer of hope.

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A team of scientists developed a drug that could destroy these deadly culprits.

The new breakthrough penetrates the blood-brain barrier that protects neurons from foreign invaders, destroying cancer cells.

Experiments found that the drug was able to kill them all, leaving healthy tissue alone.

The results described as “very promising” the mouse models used in the study were seen to heal without any relapse after more than six months.

The new drug, which works in conjunction with chemotherapy, could be introduced into clinical practice within five years.

In addition, the development may have implications for other aggressive cancers.

Professor Leif Eriksson, from the University of Gothenburg, said: “These are the first clear results with brain tumors that could lead to a treatment that completely avoids surgery and radiation.

“We have also begun to study the use of our substance on other aggressive tumor forms such as pancreatic cancer, triple-negative breast cancer and certain liver cancers.”

The drug, called Z4P, works by blocking a mechanism that drives the tumor’s production of a protein that causes cells to die from stress.

Cancer cells, especially those that form aggressive tumors, are out of control, eventually hijacking healthy cells.

Professor Eriksson said: “We have now succeeded in stopping this by introducing a specially developed molecule into the cells which blocks one of these adaptive mechanisms of hijacking in the cancer cells. This causes the cancer to self-destruct.”

In addition, the new treatment does not appear to have serious side effects.

The mouse models in the study maintained weight, there were no obvious changes in behavior and there was no sign of liver impact.

Furthermore, extensive laboratory tests on cells have shown that the substance is non-toxic even at very high doses.

The research team is now optimizing the treatment procedure and planning further animal studies.

However, this new technique does not apply to other types of brain cancer because they develop differently from glioblastomas.

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