A new drug has been discovered by National Foundation for Cancer Research scientists that could be a breakthrough in the treatment of a deadliest brain cancer, glioblastoma multiforme, or popularly known as GBM.

What Is Glioblastoma Multiforme?

GBM is a rapidly growing, aggressive tumor in the central nervous system that occurs on the brain's supportive tissues. GBM is a grade IV brain cancer and is considered deadliest due to its invasive nature. GBM may emerge in any of the lobes of the brain, though most commonly in frontal and temporal lobes. GBM is predominantly seen in adults.

Symptoms of GBM differ depending on the position of the tumor in the brain, but they usually include nausea, continual headaches, vomiting, blurred vision, loss of appetite, variations in mood or personality, loss of memory, commencement of seizures, weakening of muscles, difficulty in verbal communication, and difficulty in thinking and learning things.

Existing Treatment For Glioblastoma Multiforme

To date, the common treatments for GBM include the following:

1. Surgery: It is the first stage of treatment for patients suffering from glioblastomas. It involves surgical extraction of tumor cells to alleviate pressure in the brain caused by the tumor.

2. Radiation Therapy: This treatment is quite common for glioblastomas patients and is recommended when surgery is deemed as an unsafe option. It can either be used alone or in combination with surgery, chemo, or targeted therapy.

3. Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy drugs and radiation therapy are the most recommended course of treatments for almost all kinds of glioblastomas. After surgical removal of the cancerous tissues from the brain, wafers are grafted in the empty space. In few weeks, the wafers gradually dissolve and fill the surrounding cells with medicine, which is aimed at killing the leftover tumor cells after surgery.

4. Targeted Therapy: This uses medicines to target the portions of cancer cells that make them different from normal cells. This treatment is mostly preferred to treat brain tumors, as it has lesser side effects than the usual chemotherapy treatment.

Breakthrough In The Treatment Of GBM

With the support of NFCR, Dr. Paul B. Fisher and Dr. Web Cavenee have reportedly discovered a new drug agent than can treat GBM. A new drug developed with a novel pharmaceutical agent carefully designed with certain chemical properties could help in preventing invasion of GBM cells as a result of radiation.

Cavenee, Fisher, and their team of researchers have tested the new agent in combination with radiation. It was observed that the survival rate was enhanced further in pre-clinical models when used in combination with radiation.

Franklin C. Salisbury, Jr., NFCR CEO, applauded the research done by Cavenee and Fisher.

"For years, discoveries from NFCR-funded research have led to better treatments today - and this latest discovery by two incredibly talented scientists gives us proof there will be improved therapies for GBM and multiple cancers in the foreseeable future," said Salisbury, in a press release.

The report was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

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