A group of researchers from the Institute of Oncology of Vall d’Hebron has developed an effective immune drug to treat glioblastoma, the most common and, at the same time, the most aggressive brain tumor. Although it would take years to hit the market, the first human patient trials will begin soon.
In order to publish your to researchscientists have demonstrated the effectiveness of the drug in a preclinical study carried out with “in vitro” and “in vivo” models, using samples from patients with glioblastoma.
This discovery would suppose “a rupture of the current paradigm in the treatment of the disease”, they underline from the Catalan hospital. “This study is particularly important because an immunotherapy has been shown to be effective in the treatment of glioblastoma. If we take this into account It is the most common and aggressive primary brain tumor.and that there is a great need to develop new treatments for this disease, I believe that the results of this preclinical study, which will now be validated in a clinical trial with patients, are very relevant”, explains Dr Joan Seoane, head of research.
What is glioblastoma medication and how does it work?
The drug developed by Vall d’Hebron is based on immunotherapy. However, this technique does not work for all cancers in the same way. In this case, scientists have developed bispecific antibodies that recruit immune cells and are responsible for killing tumor cells.
However, these treatments can carry the risk that the antibodies only bind to the tumor cells and that these end up attacking the healthy cells. So the scientists found the Mutation in the EGFR gene, known as variant III“which is specific and unique to this type of tumor and is not shared by any healthy cell. This makes it an ideal target for the development of targeted therapies, although it is only present in 25% of glioblastomas“, notes Dr. Seoane.
respect to how does antibody medicine work, from Vall d’Hebron explain that this “significantly” increases the ability to bind to tumor cells and the activation of T cells, which are the ones that eliminate cancer cells. “When the mutation is not present, the antibody does not work and therefore only patients with tumors that express EGFRvIII will benefit,” explains Seoane, who points out that this drug is “very safe” so as not to act on healthy cells and a pioneer of “precision medicine”.
It is still in the testing phase
The good results obtained with this drug in preclinical studies in “in vitro” and “in vivo” models have led scientists to be more ambitious. In fact, I already know recruit patients with glioblastoma to start the first-in-man clinical trial, which will test the safety of the treatment and the appropriate doses for each person.
“The results so far are very positive and invite us to be optimistic about the clinical trial which is ongoing,” says researcher Raffaella Iurlaro. However, trial development and subsequent commercialization of the drug could take years.
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