In a new development, a team of researchers at Yale School of Medicine and Yale University have developed temozolomide analog for using a chemotherapy drug to treat glioma. The paper on the finding published in the journal Science describes the new drug, and how it acts to destroy brain tumor cells.
As the researches explain, glioblastoma is the most common type of brain tumor in humans, and the most deadly too. Only 5% of patients of glioblastma survive five years after diagnosis. Currently, radiation therapy and prescription drug temozolomide (TMZ) are treatment for glioblastoma. The treatment is geared to prolong life, and not saving it.
The new effort involves developing temozolomide analog that has proven to be more effective at destroying glioma cells than standard TMZ.
The researchers explain, TMZ acts by taking advantage of weakness of glioma – its cells are deficient in 06-methylguanine methyl transferase – a protein that fixes DNA. The treatment of glioma with TMZ results in the development of DNA lesions that lead to self-destruction of cells, the cancer cells die while the healthy brain cells live by healing themselves.
However, patients tend to develop resistance to the drug, to result into reduced effectiveness until it is no longer useful. The research involved creating a TMZ-like drug that leads to self-destructing of cells and DNA lesions, but they carried out a change that prevents tumor cells to develop resistance against it.
The change carried out by the researchers involved incorporating an interstrand crosslinking agent, which, as the name implies, involves forming links between strands of DNA. It, however, does in a way that allows healthy cells to turn the process.