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New substance causes cancer cells in brain tumors to self-destruct


Is KHS101 revolutionizing cancer treatment of brain tumors?

Cancer threatens the lives of many people worldwide. Especially for people with an aggressive brain tumor, there are few treatment options. Researchers have now found that an experimental substance leads to self-destruction of aggressive brain tumor cells.

The University of Leeds scientists found in their current investigation that an experimental substance induces aggressive brain tumor cells to destroy themselves. This could lead to a new generation of treatments for cancers like glioblastomas in the future. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Science Translational Medicine".

KHS101 blocks the energy supply to cancer cells

The decades of lack of new treatment options for glioblastoma could soon come to an end. Tests on glioblastoma multiforme tumor cells in mice showed that the synthetic substance KHS101 was able to block the energy supply to cancer cells. The experts originally expected the substance to slow down the growth of the cells. But the effects were very different, the treatment reduced the size of the tumors and healthy brain cells were not attacked, the doctors explain. Hopefully, the results of the study will help significantly improve treatment for this devastating form of cancer, which only about 5 percent of patients survive for more than five years, the researchers say.

Tumor cells destroyed themselves

KHS101 works by destroying the mitochondria, the energy power plants that drive the cells of all complex organisms and the metabolism within the tumor cells. When this research started, the scientists thought that KHS101 could slow the growth of glioblastomas. Surprisingly, however, the experts found that the tumor cells basically destroyed themselves.

Healthy brain cells were not affected by KHS101

This is only the first step in a long process, but the results pave the way for drug developers to investigate the use of this substance. Doctors hope that one day KHS101 will help extend the life of patients with glioblastoma in the clinic. The researchers also examined the effect of the substance on tumor cells that were transferred from humans to mice. The growth of tumors in mice treated with KHS101 decreased by about half and normal brain cells were not affected by the exposure to the substance.

KHS101 can cross the blood-brain barrier

The key factor was that the drug was able to cross the blood-brain barrier that exists in mammals to prevent toxins and parasites from damaging the brain, the researchers explain. Treatment of glioblastoma has remained essentially unchanged for decades, so there is an urgent need for preclinical research like this to identify and characterize potential new drugs.

More research is needed

The results are encouraging, but more thorough testing and refinement of KHS101 is required before the first human trials can begin, the researchers conclude. (as)

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