Gene therapy opens promising alternative in the treatment of primary malignant brain tumors

GlioblastomaGene therapy to protect blood stem cells from chemotherapy allows more intensive treatment of patients with glioblastoma, researchers say.

“We developed a strategy to successfully shield the marrow and blood cells and thus patients can now get this drug combination with benzylguanine and temozolomide while the marrow and blood cells are protected and shielded,” Dr. Hans-Peter Kiem from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle told Reuters Health by email.

“MGMT (methylguanine methyltransferase) in the tumor will inactivate the chemotherapy and thus make the tumor insensitive to chemotherapy,” Dr. Kiem explained. “We can reverse this by disabling MGMT and making the tumor again sensitive to temozolomide using a drug called benzylguanine. Unfortunately disabling MGMT in blood and marrow cells makes them also more sensitive to temozolomide causing low blood counts and preventing the use of this approach.”

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