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5 Aug 2013

Potential glioblastoma multiforme treatment identified

The myxoma virus may be able to infect and destroy brain cancer cells without harming healthy cells.

Researchers have identified a combinatory treatment which has the potential to destroy cancerous cells in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), which affects up to three in every 100,000 people in the US and Europe, according to the National Brain Tumor Society

Moffitt Cancer Center scientists say that this is "the most common and deadliest brain tumour", and the National Cancer Institute lists many clinical trials currently being conducted to improve treatment methods, which tend to involve involve drugs like bevacizumab and temozolomide at the moment.

Diseased cells can often develop resistance to these chemotherapy options, however. Dr Peter A Forsyth believes that the new potential medicine could be effective in overcoming these treatment barriers, possibly improving quality of life for patients and even saving lives.

The medicine which has shown promise is a combination of the myxoma virus, which infects rabbits, and the immunosuppressant rapamycin which is often used to prevent rejection in organ transplant patients.

Research has shown that brain cancer stem cells are susceptible to infection by myxoma, which is harmless to healthy human cells. Dr Forsyth described this finding as "an exciting prospect for therapy".

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