Brain Tumors Need Treatment With Multiple 'Targeted' Drugs

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Brain Tumors

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Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have shown that several, rather than just one, cell-growth switches are simultaneously overactive in many brain tumors and other solid tumors, explaining why treatment with just a single "targeted" switch-blocking drug often yields disappointing results. The laboratory finding argues for quickly moving to clinical trials that combine three or more such targeted drugs for such cancers to shut down all the malfunctioning growth switches, according to the team led by Ronald DePinho, MD, director of the Center for Applied Cancer Science at the Dana-Farber. Their report is being posted online on Sept. 13 by the journal Science and will appear in a forthcoming print issue.

The switches are formed by molecules called receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) that often are mutated and hyperactive in cancer cells. Since a number of kinase-blocking drugs are already available

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