Scientists in Glasgow have discovered that a drug used to treat ovarian cancer can also reach brain tumours.
The research suggests the cancer drug olaparib could be an effective treatment for a common type of brain tumour known as glioblastoma.
Early results from the Cancer Research UK-funded trial involving 48 patients with glioblastoma found that the drug successfully reaches brain tumours at high enough levels for treatment.
The findings from the trial, which was managed by the charity’s Centre for Drug Development and led from the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre, will be presented at the National Cancer Research Institute’s (NCRI) Cancer Conference in Liverpool on Monday.
Professor Anthony Chalmers, lead researcher and chair of clinical oncology at the University of Glasgow, said: “Brain tumours are stubbornly difficult to treat and one of the main reasons for this is the blood brain barrier, a natural filter that blocks the passage of drugs.
“But these results suggest that olaparib is able to leak through because this barrier is disrupted in glioblastoma.
“By showing that this drug reaches brain tumours, we are in a much stronger position to use it to make current treatments more effective.”
Dr Nigel Blackburn, Cancer Research UK’s director of drug development, said: “While overall survival for cancer is improving, survival for brain tumours is still very low and the blood brain barrier is a significant pharmacological obstacle.
“Experimental trials like this, which test new ways to reach these hard to treat tumours, are crucially important if we are to see more patients survive their cancer.”
Source : BirminghamMail