Scientists in brain tumour treatment discovery

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scientists in Yorkshire have taken major strides to overcome resistance to drugs of one of the most common brain tumours to affect adults.

Experts at Bradford University have created a modified version of cancer drug temozolomide, a first-line treatment for glioblastoma.

The team backed by the charity Cancer Research UK, working with colleagues in the United States and Finland, have revamped the drug to make it better at killing cancer cells. The drug, known as DP68, also significantly reduces the re-growth of tumour cells that become resistant to temozolomide.

Glioblastomas account for more than a quarter of all primary brain tumours and around 2,500 people are diagnosed each year in the UK.

Cancer Research UK led the development of temozolomide, which marked an important breakthrough in the treatment of the condition worldwide. But in many cases the cancer becomes resistant, tumours grow back more aggressively and it is very hard to treat, leaving scientists with the task of finding new ways to outmanoeuvre it.

Study author Richard Wheelhouse, of the university’s school of pharmacy, said: “DP68 could become a vital treatment for glioblastoma patients who’ve developed resistance to the first-line treatment.

“It’s still early days but, unlike temolozomide that’s only used to treat gliomas, we hope this new version of the drug may benefit patients with other cancer types.”

Prof Peter Johnson, Cancer Research UK’s chief clinician, said: “We still need to do much more research in the treatment of brain tumours, where progress has been painfully slow. It is very encouraging to think that this drug might be helpful for people whose cancer stops responding to treatment.”