Making up 80 per-cent of all brain tumours in adults, gliomas such as glioblastoma (GBM) are the most common and aggressive form of brain cancer. Killing more people under forty than any other cancer, a quarter of a million people die every year from these tumours – despite current treatment options the average survival for a GBM is only 14-15 months after diagnosis
Dr Mastura Monif’s lab in our Neuroscience department is investigating a new drug to find a safe and effective treatment option for this type of brain cancer. Ms Liyen Katrina Kan, a PhD student in Dr Monif’s research group, has developed a new technique to test different drugs on GBM tissue.
Samples of brain tumours are taken and placed into a solution that breaks them down leaving only the cancerous GBM cells. This enables the team to add different drug treatments to the samples to test their effects on the tumour.
From using this technique, the team found a drug called AZ10606120, that substantially reduces the number of tumour cells by stopping a protein found in the GBM called P2X7R. The drug has the potential to halt tumour growth and has an anti-cancer effect that is more effective than conventional chemotherapy treatment.
For this research, the team use human GBM samples provided by the Alfred Brain Tumour Bio-databank (ABTB). The ABTB collect samples of tumours removed from patients who are undergoing surgery for brain cancer. The ABTB was established to work with our research teams in finding a more effective treatment options for those affected by the disease.
“Whilst there have been major advances in the way we operate on brain tumours, the sad fact is the prognosis for glioblastoma patients has not improved. To develop more effective treatment options, clearly, we need research,” said A/Prof Martin Hunn, Head of Alfred Neurosurgery Department.
For more information please email E.Galea@alfred.org.au or visit our website www.alfredhealth.org.au/abtb