OCTOBER 31, 2018
Left: Gliobastoma – MRI sagittal view, 15 year old boy. Right: Histopathological image of cerebral glioblastoma.
Israeli researchers have developed innovative molecules for effective treatment of glioblastoma, a very aggressive type of brain cancer, as published by theHebrew University of Jerusalemon Wednesday.
These molecules inhibit protein formation, which is important for the development of glioblastoma. This type of cancer accounts for 17 percent of all brain cancer tumors.
Glioblastoma originates in glial cells that support and protect the neurons. At some point these cells begin to multiply without control. The life expectancy of patients with this cancer is between 11 and 27 months.
One of the problems in treating cancer is developing resistance to chemotherapy. The poor prognosis of glioblastoma patients led researchers to try to find an effective way to treat it.
The researchers found that MKNK2 genes produce two different proteins with a contrasting effect: Mnk2b, which acts as a cancer-causing gene, and Mnk2a, which functions as a cancer-inhibiting gene.
The molecule developed blocks the replication process of Mnk2b in cancer cells. In this way, it reduces the production of the Mnk2b cancer protein and increases the levels of the Mnk2a inhibitor protein.
This makes tumor cells resistant to chemotherapy more susceptible to treatment and their death increases. Combining molecule therapy with chemotherapy leads to much more significant cancer cell death than treatment alone.
The finding was approved as international patent and is being marketed globally by technology transfer company “Yissum” of the Hebrew University.
The study was supported by the German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development (GIF) and by the Israel Innovation Authority.