Against brain tumors
Two new therapies for brain tumors are featured in the December issue of Nature Medicine. The first results from clinical tests are partially promising. A new drug called Transferrin-CRM107 has been tested in a clinical trial led by Edward H. Oldfield of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). The drug was applied directly to the tumor using a special pressure pump. Nine of the 15 treated patients showed a reduction in tumor size, and in two patients it even disappeared completely.
Transferrin-CRM107 is made by binding the diphtheria toxin to the protein transferrin. This protein targets rapidly growing cells, such as tumor cells. The new drug was developed by researchers at the National Institutes of He alth.
In the second clinical test, virus-producing cells were used to obtain a herpes virus gene. By introducing this gene, the sensitivity of tumor cells to a certain antiviral drug, ganciclovir, could be increased. In the further course of therapy, the patients were then treated with ganciclovir to kill the tumor cells. In this way, however, it was only possible to eliminate very small tumors in four out of 15 patients. The study was carried out by Dr. Oldfield and his colleagues at the National Cancer Institute and the National Human Genome Research Institute.
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