A new study demonstrates how a medication derived from a natural component used in classical Chinese medicine works over malignant brain tumours in mice, opening up a new path of investigation for glioblastoma treatment.
Researchers demonstrated how indirubin, a formulation of the compound, enhanced the longevity of mice with malignant brain tumours, as per the research published in Cell Reports Medicine. They also evaluated an easier-to-administer formulation, bringing the possible pharmacological strategy one step closer to clinical trials with human volunteers.
The treatment is noteworthy because it targets a variety of significant markers of the disease, according to Sean Lawler, principal author and assistant professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at Brown University. He adds that this is appealing since this sort of cancer is adept at circumventing individual assault mechanisms. So, if one deploys various attack strategies at the same time, they might have a better chance of success.
The investigating team comprised scientists from Brown’s Legorreta Cancer Center and School of Engineering, as well as the Department of Neurosurgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School, and Phosphorex, Inc. and Cytodigm, Inc.
The most prevalent and dangerous type of brain cancer is glioblastoma. Chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery are the standard of care, yet they do not cure or stop cancer.
According to the researchers, indirubin is a natural chemical found in indigo plants and a component of the traditional Chinese medication Dang Gui Long Hui Wan, which has been utilised in the treatment of chronic myelogenous leukaemia. Indirubin derivatives have shown promise in the treatment of cancer via a variety of methods.
Lawler and colleagues discovered that indirubin inhibited the expansion of glioblastoma tumours in mice ten years ago. He said, however, that the researchers were unable to explain why. Furthermore, the modified medicine proved difficult to work with, making it a challenge for researchers to assess dosage levels and efficiently distribute them to the tumour.
As the scientists continued to investigate the molecule, they were contacted by the Massachusetts-based biomedical firm Phosphorex, which develops technologies to enhance pharmaceutical formulations. Phosphorus has developed 6′-bromoindirubin ketoxime, a formulation of indirubin that makes the molecule easier to employ as an injectable cancer treatment.
The researchers examined how the nanoparticle formulation of BiA affected the immune system in glioblastoma tumours in mice.
BiA not only slowed tumor cell growth and proliferation, but it also increased survival via impacts on crucial immunotherapeutic targets.
The medicine influenced the immune system in mouse tests in a way that they believe could improve clinical immunotherapy in people, according to Lawler, whose laboratory is developing therapeutic options for the treatment of brain tumours.
The medicine will be tested further to examine how it reacts to chemotherapy and radiation, with the intention of launching clinical trials for glioblastoma patients. Although scientists have been investigating glioblastoma for quite some time now, there haven’t been many big treatment advancements, according to Lawler, until now.
Over the last 20 years or so, there haven’t been many notable discoveries that have had a significant influence on survival, so they are always on the lookout for new approaches, according to Lawler. This research takes a fresh approach, which is why, as per Lawler, they are so pleased about it.