Researchers Discover New Drug to Treat Brain Cancer

Sunday, August 18, 2019 - 13:17

Pharmacy students of the University of Findlay are working on a new groundbreaking treatment for one of the deadliest forms of the cancer.

According to an ISCA report, researchers of the University of Findlay believe they have created a drug to improve the aggressive brain cancer.

Glioblastoma is the most aggressive form of brain cancer that develops in the brain or spinal cord and is nearly impossible to remove, NBC 24 reports.

"What they have right now is great in terms of glioblastoma, but it’s not enough in terms of survival rates that you're seeing," said Jacob Reyes, UF College of Pharmacy graduate student researcher.

"Looking at activity we've seen from drug compounds treating glioblastoma in the past, we've kind of used a molecule called chalcone, that's just a type of drug molecule, but it’s something actually found in curry I guess, the food curry," said Reyes.

That's right, the compound called chalcone is most commonly found in curry, the popular Indian food.

Dr. Rahul Khupse is a medicinal chemist working on the project at UF. He grew up in India and said that he discovered chalcone has anti-inflammatory properties as well as anti-cancer properties.

"In my grad school I had worked on natural products and that was kind of like an inspiration for making this designer drug," said Dr. Khupse. So his team worked to develop a new compound that they've nicknamed "RK-15."

One of the major breakthroughs about this compound is its selectivity to target only the brain cancer cells while sparing the healthy cells.

"Selectivity is the holy grail of cancer therapy because we know that chemotherapy has a lot of side effects. So how do we achieve that selectivity where our compounds can only kill brain cancer, glioblastoma, and spare the normal brain," said Dr. Khupse.

Dr. Khupse said that "RK-15" also penetrates the brain blood barrier, or BBB, which is the brains defense system, while also targeting the resistant cancer cells.

The team of researchers said this makes "RK-15" 100 times more selective towards the infectious cancer cells.

Researchers said the next step is to test on animals, then continue clinical testing on humans before it could get approved by the FDA. They said it typically takes 10 to 15 years for a new drug to get from the lab to the patient.

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