Category Archives: Glioblastoma

Glioblastoma multiforme: a new weapon in the surgeon’s arsenal

Molecular ThoughtsGlioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a devastating form of brain cancer that usually results in death within 15 months of diagnosis. Tumor cells at the margins of these brain tumors often invade surrounding tissues, and this means that they can be difficult to remove completely. If a patient is able to undergo surgery, the goal is to remove as many malignant cells as possible without affecting parts of the brain that are necessary for other essential neurological functions.¬†Currently,¬†surgeons have no way of knowing for sure that they’ve removed all of the cancerous cells. But new research could change that.

The day before surgery, a patient would be injected with nanoprobes that migrate to the tumor cells. These nanoprobes don’t affect normal brain tissue. Then, during surgery, the surgeon would use a device that detects these nanoprobes to determine whether they had successfully removed all of the malignant cells. The device looks like a laser pointer, and in laboratory studies with mouse models of human GBM, researchers were able to remove all of the malignant cells from the mice!

This may be ready for human clinical trials relatively quickly, and it’s possible that it could be helpful in the treatment of other types of brain cancer as well. Read more about it here:


Exploding cancer cells? Yes, please!

iStock_000006862055SmallGlioblastoma is an aggressive type of brain tumor. Glioblastomas are difficult to treat, very aggressive, and survival rates aren’t very good. But researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm have found a potential silver bullet- a substance called Vacquinol-1 that makes glioblastoma cells explode and die!

So how does it work? This molecule alters the cancer cells so they can’t control the substances being carried into the cell from the outside. This results in a large number of vacuoles forming inside the cell, and eventually, the cell explodes.

To develop this treatment, researchers used cell cultures and exposed tumor cells to different molecules. Once they found molecules that killed the tumor cells, they did more research to narrow down potential candidates for a treatment. They identified a single molecule that they wanted to pursue, and through further studies in mice, they found that tumor growth was reversed and the mice survived for longer than those in control groups.

This could potentially work on other types of cancer cells, too, but until clinical trials proceed, researchers won’t know. The hope is to get this treatment into clinical trials quickly, because this is definitely a novel approach to attacking this type of tumor! Read more: