Findings from a seven-year research project suggests that there could be a new approach to treating one of the most common and devasting forms of brain cancer in adults — Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM).
In a peer-reviewed study published in BMC Cancer, scientists from the University of Surrey demonstrate that a short chain of amino acids (the HTL-001 peptide) is effective in targeting and inhibiting the function of a family of genes responsible for Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) growth – Hox genes. The research was carried out in cell and animal models.
The HTL-001 peptide tested in the study has completed safety testing and is ready for patient trials. These trials are now being considered in GBM and other cancers.
According to Hardev Pandha, project lead and Professor of Medical Oncology at the University of Surrey, “People who suffer from Glioblastoma Multiforme have a five percent survival rate over a five-year period – a figure that has not improved in decades.
While we are still early in the process, our seven-year project offers a glimmer of hope for finding a solution to Hox gene dysregulation, which is associated with the growth of GBM and other cancers, and which has proven to be elusive as a target for so many years.”
Ironically, Hox genes are responsible for the healthy growth of brain tissue but are ordinarily silenced at birth after vigorous activity in the growing embryo.
However, if they are inappropriately ‘switched on’ again, their activity can lead to the progression of cancer. Hox gene dysregulation has long been recognized in GBM.