Scientists find a new drug to stop brain tumor growth

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Scientists from Northwestern Medicine found a drug that inhibits the growth of the most aggressive meningiomas and how to most accurately identify which meningiomas will respond to the drug.

The drug is a newer cancer treatment called abemaciclib.

The research is published in Nature Genetics and was conducted by Dr. Stephen Magill et al.

When a non-metastatic brain tumor—a meningioma—recurs after surgery and radiation treatment, a patient is out of options.

No drugs are approved for these aggressive tumors, which occur in up to 20% of cases and can lead to patient disability or even death.

In the study, the team examined molecular changes in the tumor to understand what drives its growth and design therapies that target the Achilles heel of the tumor.

They discovered that meningiomas can be divided into molecular subgroups with different clinical outcomes and recurrence rates.

This new method of classifying tumors allows scientists to predict recurrence more accurately than the current method of classifying the tumor.

Scientists discovered that aggressive tumors have multiple molecular changes in a common pathway of cell division that enables the cells to divide more and come back after surgery.

Eventually, the team hopes to tailor medical therapy to the genetic changes within each individual person’s meningioma.

The team found that mice with meningiomas treated with the medication lived longer and their tumors didn’t grow as rapidly.

The drug was also used off label as compassionate use in several patients whose tumors decreased in size and whose symptoms improved, suggesting the drug should be considered for clinical trials.

The next steps in the research are to validate these findings in additional populations and build on them to determine whether we can use molecular features to predict which meningioma patients should be treated with radiation in addition to surgery.

If you care about the brain, please read studies about anti-diarrhea drug that could help kill brain cancer, and how COVID-19 affects the brain.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies that a weak heart can cause a suffering brain, and results showing this diet could help prevent brain aging.

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