Brain Tumors Vanish in Mice after Israeli Study Finds and Destroys ‘Power Source ’
An Israeli study has eliminated glioblastoma, the most deadly brain tumor, in mice, by identifying and destroying their “power source.”
The Tel Aviv University scientists behind the peer-reviewed research are now working on identifying drugs to replicate the effect in humans. They hope to find an existing drug that may work and then repurpose it, which they say could happen within two years if things go smoothly.
The method is basically to “starve” glioblastoma tumors by removing their source of energy, said brain immunologist Dr. Lior Mayo, the lead author of the study. He told Israeli media that normally, scientists try to attack tumors directly, for example with chemotherapy. “Instead, we decided to ask if there’s anything we can change in the tumor’s environment that could harm it,” he explained.
Astrocytes are brain cells that are so-called because they look like stars. Glioblastoma tumors shift the surrounding astrocytes to an unusually active state. Mayo, and his Ph.D. students Adi Tessler and Rita Perelroizen, wanted to know what the astrocytes do in relation to the tumor.
Using genetic modification, he could produce mice with glioblastoma tumors, and then remove all astrocytes from around the tumor. “We found that when we did this, the tumors vanished and stayed away for as long as we repressed the astrocytes,” he said. (TOI / VFI News)
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