UT investigating ways to treat aggressive brain cancer

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July 9, 2015

Featured in the Toledo Blade, the University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences has been studying a new method to kill cancer cells through making them “drink themselves to death.” Due to the high rate of tumor cell regrowth and the resistance these cells develop to the initial therapy treatment, these scientists have begun to look elsewhere to facilitate cell death. While growing glioblastoma cancer cells in a laboratory, the researchers noticed that the cells enthusiastically take in fluid, which ultimately leads to the cells expanding to the point of bursting causing cell death. This process, known as methuosis, can be triggered by the team’s newly developed drug MOMIPP. “Importantly, we have shown that MOMIPP may be less toxic to normal human cells than it is to glioblastoma cells. This indicates that MOMIPP might selectively kill the rapidly growing cancer cells. Even more exciting results have demonstrated that this compound can destroy glioblastoma cells that are already resistant to temozolomide (the current standard chemotherapy drug). Interestingly, breast, colon, and pancreatic cancer cells also undergo methuosis after exposure to MOMIPP.” The researchers are still uncertain of exactly how MOMIPP works in these cancer cells to cause methuosis. Current speculation suggests the chemical activates a protein called “c-JUN-terminal Kinase” (JNK) that turns on several other proteins initiating cell death. The next steps for the research team is to undergo a series of preclinical tests including mouse tumor models.

Read the full article on the Toledo Blade