New chemical causes deadly brain cancer to self-destruct

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New chemical causes deadly brain cancer to self-destruct

There is a newly discovered chemical that can cause brain cancer cells to kill themselves.

A newly discovered chemical may improve brain cancer survival.

Glioblastoma is a deadly form of brain cancer. Glioblastoma tumors emerge from the sticky, supportive tissue of the brain, which gets an ample supply of blood.

This makes the cancer particularly difficult to treat; the malignant cells multiply very fast.

The median survival rate for this aggressive cancer is 10–12 months. According to some studies, the 5-year survival rate is below 10 percent.

However, new research carried out by an international team of scientists may have found a way to stop the cancer cells from spreading so fast. A new synthetic chemical compound called KHS101 cuts off the “energy supply” to the cancer cells.

Heiko Wurdak, from the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom, led the study, which was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Laboratory experiments discovered that KHS101 disrupts the mitochondria of the cancer cells. Also known as the “powerhouses of the cell,” mitochondria are tiny organelles responsible for turning nutrients into energy.

By disrupting the good functioning of mitochondria, KHS101 interfered with this fuel-producing metabolism and caused the cells to self-destruct.

“When we started this research we thought KHS101 might slow down the growth of glioblastoma, but we were surprised to find that the tumor cells basically self-destructed when exposed to it,” says Wurdak.

Next, the researchers wanted to see whether or not the compound could penetrate the blood-brain barrier, which is the “barrier between the brain’s blood vessels (capillaries) and the cells and other components that make up brain tissue.”

This barrier is essential because it helps protect our bodies from pathogens such as bacteria and viruses. However, the barrier may be an obstacle when specialists try to administer drugs.

So, Wurdak and colleagues transplanted human cancer cells into mice and administered the compound to examine its effects.

Read on: New chemical causes deadly brain cancer to self-destruct

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