Sunday, November 10, 2013

Incurable Brain Cancer Gene is Silenced

News Brief by Prachi Sharma

Researchers at Northwestern University have developed a new drug that aims to reduce the mortality rate of those with Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a deadly type of brain cancer that affects approximately 13,000 Americans a year, and has a median survival rate of 14 to 16 months. In a recent study, researchers found that the survival rate of mice given the drug increased nearly 20 percent and the size of the tumor decreased significantly as compared to those in the control group.

 The drug silences the cancer-causing gene in cells by imitating nanotechnology, thereby allowing the therapeutic to cross the blood barrier into the brain tumor. Specifically, the researchers used SNA's (spherical nucleic acids), whose shape allow them to enter cells, and whose nucleic acid sequences match and consequently silence BCl2Like12, the gene which is overexpressed and thus responsible for causing glioblastoma tumors. Because this gene is also the source of the resistance of current therapies, by silencing BCl2Like12 the new drug is expected to improve the effectiveness of existing therapies and increase the survival rates of those afflicted with GBM. Furthermore, the advancement of this gene regulation technology is anticipated to create a platform for treating numerous other serious diseases, especially those with a genetic basis. 

Reference: Fellman, M. (2013, October 30). Incurable Brain Cancer Gene is Silenced | Neuroscience News. Neuroscience News. Retrieved October 31, 2013, from
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