Scientists Build a Better Cancer Drug to Pass Through Blood-brain Barrier

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October 20, 2016

Brain tumors are one of the more difficult cancers to treat due to the body’s natural defense, called the blood-brain barrier. This is a filtering mechanism of the capillaries that blocks the passage of certain substances, including many chemotherapy drugs.

Many years ago, scientists started experimenting with an anti-cancer drug called DON, which targets the tumor metabolism. DON has been shown to shrink tumors in clinical trials. The new goal was to enhance the drug so that it could more easily penetrate the brain and limit the exposure to other parts of the body. The altered form of DON, known as 5c, appears to get past the blood-brain barrier more effectively and is converted back to DON in the brain. The experiments have shown success thus far in delivering larger quantities of the drug to the cerebrospinal fluid within monkeys.

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