Scientists find new way to treat deadly brain cancer

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The University of Sussex has made a new discovery that could potentially extend the lives of patients suffering from glioblastoma, one of the most aggressive forms of brain cancer.

This new study, detailed in the journal Advanced Science, focuses on a previously overlooked protein, PANK4, and its role in cancer treatment resistance.

Glioblastoma affects thousands in the UK and hundreds of thousands globally each year, with survival rates currently dismal at best—ranging from one to 18 months post-diagnosis.

Treatment typically involves surgery to remove the tumor, followed by radiation and chemotherapy with temozolomide. However, the effectiveness of temozolomide is limited as cancer cells quickly develop resistance to the drug.

The research led by Professor Georgios Giamas and his team at the University of Sussex has identified that the protein PANK4 may be a significant player in this resistance.

Their findings show that eliminating PANK4 from cancer cells makes them more susceptible to temozolomide, offering a new avenue to combat the disease’s progression and resistance to treatment.

This discovery is particularly exciting because it marks the first time PANK4 has been linked to glioblastoma.

With this knowledge, the next goal is to develop a drug that targets PANK4, potentially reversing chemo-resistance and improving patient outcomes.

The team’s research has also shown that higher levels of PANK4 correlate with lower survival rates in patients, further emphasizing the protein’s impact on glioblastoma’s aggressiveness and treatment resistance.

Dr. Viviana Vella, a research fellow at the University of Sussex, highlighted the importance of investigating under-studied proteins like PANK4.

Their work reveals PANK4’s role in protecting cancer cells from the effects of temozolomide, suggesting that targeting this protein could restore drug sensitivity and enhance treatment efficacy.

This research not only offers hope for more effective glioblastoma treatments but also underscores the importance of exploring lesser-known aspects of cancer biology.

By continuing to study the early diagnosis and treatment of glioblastoma, the Sussex researchers aim to develop new strategies to improve quality of life and extend survival for patients battling this devastating disease.

If you care about cancer, please read studies that artificial sweeteners are linked to higher cancer risk, and how drinking milk affects risks of heart disease and cancer.

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The research findings can be found in Advanced Science.

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