Scientists have discovered an innovative way that may stop the spread of the most lethal and aggressive brain cancer, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). In laboratory studies, scientists demonstrated that activating a specific family of proteins halted cancer cell migration into healthy tissue.
GBM is the most common brain tumor in adults, and people with GBM often live fewer than than 15 months following diagnosis. Despite surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, individual cancer cells escape and invade healthy surrounding tissue, making additional treatment attempts increasingly difficult.
The new study, published in the journal Molecular Biology of the Cell, expands upon an earlier discovery of a bioactive peptide called DAD and small molecules called intramimics.
Both DAD and intramimics activate a family of proteins called DIAPHs or mDIA, which are known to play vital roles in GBM spread. The researchers showed that locking DIAPH into an "on" state using DAD, intramimic-01 and intramimic-02 stops GBM cells from invading normal brain tissue.
Historically, therapies aimed at combating the spread of GBM focused on inhibiting mDIA, a member of the DIAPH family that is integrally involved in cell structure and tumor motility. Earlier work also showed that intramimics could impair tumor growth in colon cancer cells and that they could be a potential therapeutic option for other cancers as well. Little work had been done on molecules that activate mDIA as an anti-GBM therapy, prompting the recent study comparing mDIA activation versus inhibition in GBM.