Scientists discovered a molecule that kills the most aggressive form of brain cancer

UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — British scientists discovered a molecule that causes glioblastoma cells, “McCain cancer,” and other malignant brain tumors to destroy themselves. The results of experiments on mice were presented in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

“When we started these experiments, we thought that KHS101 would simply slow down the growth of glioblastoma cells. It turned out that this substance did not just prevent them from reproducing, but made them“ commit suicide.

”This is only the first step on a very long way to creating full-fledged drugs , but we hope that in the future KHS101 will extend the life of many patients, “said Heiko Wurdak of the University of Leeds (United Kingdom).

Various forms of brain and spinal cord cancer are very rare in comparison with breast, prostate or intestinal cancers, but their rarity is compensated for by the fact that virtually all of them are extremely aggressive and dangerous to humans.

Acquisition of such a cancer in most cases leads to the rapid death of the patient due to difficulties in the use of chemotherapy or the impossibility of surgical intervention.

Brain cancer most often affects children, not adults.

Only one of several subspecies of these tumors, glioblastoma, accounts for about 15% of infant deaths from cancer. Until now, no means have been known that could prevent the development of these tumors and at the same time not cause a massive death of healthy brain cells.

Relatively recently, scientists have found that meadowsweet and some other plants contain substances that can suppress this cancer.

As Burdak explains, the creation of drugs capable of destroying glioblastoma cells or inhibiting their growth is severely limited by the fact that there is a barrier between the brain and the circulatory system that prevents any complex molecules from penetrating into the nervous system.

Eight years ago, his team discovered one substance with this property – the hormone KHS101, which forces the “presets” of neurons to turn into adult brain cells. As shown by experiments on rats, it connects with the TACC3 protein, which controls the reproduction of stem cells, and blocks its work. This makes them “grow up” and turn into full-fledged neurons.

More recently, scientists have discovered that the activity of this protein is markedly increased in glioblastoma cells and some other types of brain cancer. This discovery prompted and his colleagues to the idea that KHS101 can be used to slow down tumor growth.

They tested this idea on several dozens of mice, in whose brain they introduced cell cultures of especially aggressive forms of glioblastoma, astrocytomas and other malignant brain tumors. When the cancer “dug in” in their bodies, the scientists divided the rodents into two halves, some of which received injections of KHS101, and others – a “dummy”.

Much to the surprise of scientists, this substance not only interfered with the reproduction of cancer cells, but also forced them to self-destruct, interacting with gene chains not directly related to TACC3. Interestingly, KHS101 had no effect on the life of healthy brain cells, without interfering with their metabolism and “choking” them the way it did with cancer cells.

In general, as shown by subsequent observations of mice, KHS101 slowed tumor growth by about two times, so that rodents could live for about 50-100 days longer than their relatives in the control group. It turned out that this substance acted equally well both on “pure” tumors, which contained only one type of cells, and on combinations of 5-6 different glioblastoma cultures.

So far, as scientists emphasize, you should not run to a pharmacy or hospital. KHS101 must undergo a host of clinical and preclinical trials in order for it to be used in hospitals.

It will take several more years, and so far there is no guarantee that it will help people as effectively as mice. Nevertheless, Vurdak and his colleagues believe that their drug and its more advanced versions will pass all these tests and become the first universal cure for the most “invulnerable” form of cancer.

This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for VOP from different countries around the world – edited and published by VOP staff in our newsroom.

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