A study published today in the journal Nature Communications shows that a drug target could help to supercharge radiotherapy for glioma, the most common type of brain cancer.
Glioma is a deadly disease that causes cancerous cells to grow in the brain. Current treatments for glioma involve surgery to remove the tumor and then radiation therapy to destroy the cancer cells.
But radiotherapy can be very damaging to the surrounding brain tissue. And because gliomas are so commonly found in the brain, some patients cannot tolerate traditional radiation therapy.
Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, have identified a new drug target that could help to improve the effectiveness of radiotherapy for glioma.
The target is called the bone morphogenetic protein receptor (BMPR1). When BMPR1 is activated, it causes cells to grow more quickly and to spread more easily.
The researchers found that when they targeted BMPR1 with radiation therapy, the cancer cells died more quickly.
This study is the first to show that targeting BMPR1 with radiation therapy can improve the effectiveness of radiotherapy for glioma.
The researchers are now working to develop a clinical trial to test the effectiveness of this treatment strategy in patients with glioma.
If the trial is successful, it could lead to a new way to treat this deadly disease.