Glioblastoma (GBM) represents 14.9% of all primary brain tumors and is considered one of the most aggressive types of brain tumors. Even after resection, radiation and chemotherapy, the tumor often times grows back and gives a median survival rate of 15 months. Dr. Spina and her team believe the source of the recurrence is the glioblastoma stem cells (GSCs) and have focused their study on this. It is thought that a major source of resistance to radiation and chemotherapy comes from GSCs, so even when the tumor is visibly gone on scans, often times low numbers of GSCs survive, causing the tumor to regrow.
The research team has been studying two different approaches to discontinue the recurrence of GBM. One approach is to find drugs that force the GSCs to lose their stem cell qualities so that they become more like astrocyte cells, which will cause them to lose their ability to create more tumor cells. The other approach blocks a protein that GSCs need in order to survive in the harsh tumor environment.
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