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Glioblastoma

Using human cancer cells, tumor and blood samples from cancer patients, researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine have uncovered the role of a neurotransmitter in the spread of aggressive cancers. Neurotransmitters are chemical "messengers" that transmit impulses from neurons to other target cells.

In a "proof of concept" study, scientists at Johns Hopkins Medicine say they have successfully delivered nano-size packets of genetic code called microRNAs to treat human brain tumors implanted in mice. The contents of the super-small containers were designed to target cancer stem cells, a kind of cellular "seed" that produces countless progeny and is a relentless barrier to ridding the brain of malignant cells.

Results of their experiments were published online June 21 in Nano Letters.

Taking a biopsy of a brain tumor is a complicated and invasive surgical process, but a team of researchers at Washington University in St. Louis is developing a way that allows them to detect tumor biomarkers through a simple blood test.

Taking a biopsy of a brain tumor is a complicated and invasive surgical process, but a team of researchers at Washington University in St. Louis is developing a way that allows them to detect tumor biomarkers through a simple blood test.

Glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive form of brain cancer, typically fails to respond to treatment or rapidly becomes drug resistant. In a paper published online in the journal Cancer Cell on November 30, University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers identified a strategy that pinpoints a genetically distinct subpopulation of patients with glioblastoma that is particularly sensitive to drugs like cilengitide that target a cell adhesion receptor known as integrin αvβ3.

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