DRUG DISCOVERY

Brain cancer therapy

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Science  20 Jan 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6322, pp. 258
DOI: 10.1126/science.355.6322.258-a

Targeted drug therapy may help improve radiation treatment of deadly brain cancer.

PHOTO: LIVING ART ENTERPRISES/SCIENCE SOURCE

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a deadly brain cancer, and a major challenge to its treatment with radiation is that the approach often leads to an even more aggressive form of the cancer. Kegelman et al. report that targeting a scaffolding protein called MDA-9 or syntenin (encoded by melanoma differentiation-associated gene 9) with a small-molecule inhibitor may prevent this outcome. The drug targets a protein interaction domain (PDZ1) in MDA-9, blocking key signaling pathways that promote invasiveness and proliferation in cultured glioblastoma cells. The drug also boosted tumor sensitivity to radiation and improved survival in a mouse model of GBM. The results suggest a possible path to targeted brain cancer therapy.

Prod. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 10.1073/pnas.1616100114 (2016).

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