neuro-oncology

Smart Drug Targets the Deadliest Brain Cancer for Destruction

Physicians and researchers at Houston Methodist Hospital have designed a new drug to treat patients with GBM, the most aggressive, incurable brain cancer.

“Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most aggressive brain cancer with no cure. Chemotherapy resistance has limited the use of temozolamide, a drug used to prolong the life of these patients,” said Martyn Sharpe, Ph.D., associate research professor of neurosurgery at Houston Methodist Hospital and a senior investigator on the study. “In an animal model of human brain cancer, combining the smart drug with chemotherapy prolonged life by over six fold.”

In research findings presented at the Society for Neuro-Oncology annual conference, a team of researchers led by scientist Sharpe and neurosurgeon David S. Baskin, M.D. director of the Kenneth R. Peak Brain and Pituitary Tumor Center at Houston Methodist Hospital invented a targeted way to overcome chemotherapy drug resistance and destroy the deadliest brain tumors while sparing surrounding brain tissue.

Results from the study showed that the smart drug is nontoxic in normal cells but transformed in GBM cells into a compound that blocks chemotherapy resistance, allowing for the destruction of aggressive brain cancer cells.

GBM and other brain cancers express high levels of a protein termed Monoamine oxidase B or MAOB, which converts the inactive drug into a compound that prevents chemotherapy resistance.

These results support further testing of PAM-OBG as a potential drug candidate for the treatment of patients with GBM or other cancers with high MAOB protein levels.

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This little knick knack was a sweet gift from a sweet friend, just after Aaron’s second brain surgery on December 26, 2012, and just before he started a gnarly new chemo that would require him to be hospitalized for 3 days a month, with 2 outpatient visits in between each stay.

2013 was shaping up to be a lot of things: uncertain, for one. Scary, to be obvious. But we knew from a year in the neuro-oncology waiting room and a pass through the halls of the oncology floor that even with Stage IV brain cancer and a recurrent tumor and a pregnancy on our hands, we were the lucky ones. 2013 had no choice but to continue our lucky streak.

And it did.

Initially, this post was going to be a braggy 2013 recap where I talked about all of the ways 2013 was awesome. I was going to compile our Top 13 moments (get it?) where I could talk about Aaron helping to deliver our baby just 7 days after his first round of intra-arterial chemo and standing together in the desert with our son in our arms pretending like we were present at the dawn of time. I was going to talk about visiting a crystal healer who read Aaron’s energies and surprising Aaron with the first ever Purmathon.

I was going to talk about how many miles we ran and how many times we stayed up too late talking like two people who are just starting to fall in love and then it hit me: there really are only 13 things worth putting on a recap of this year.

We had 12 clean MRIs and 1 unlikely baby. With those 13 events, we’ve gotten far more than any doctor would feel comfortable predicting or any gambler would have the sense to bet on, and in between, we got a year full of experiences that kept our days and hearts filled to the max.

That’s pretty damn lucky. 

Thanks, 2013.