May 6, 2019 - FEFU News
FEFU scientists develop a new way to cure brain cancer


Scientists of Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) in collaboration with colleagues from the National Scientific Medical Center of Oncology named after N.N. Blokhin (Moscow), colleagues from Sweden and Switzerland, first studied the proteins that make up the WNT signaling pathway of stem cells of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM CD133 + CSCs), one of the most aggressive brain tumors. Researchers have found a number of protein-potential targets that can be attacked in the process of complex antitumor therapy. A study published in Oncology Reports.

Glioblastoma multiforme is one of the most aggressive brain tumors that is extremely resistant to therapy. On average, patients with this diagnosis live for 15 months. Only 27% of patients live more than two years from the time of diagnosis. According to scientists, tumor resistance to treatment is associated with cancer stem cells, and, in particular, with activation of WNT signaling pathways in them.

WNT signaling pathways in human cells are responsible for a number of essential functions, including cell proliferation — their reproduction, and the ability to differentiate into other types of cells. Unfortunately, they can contribute to the division and spread of cancer cells.

“The question of the behavior of stem cells of glioblastoma multiforme is an urgent research task in modern medicine. Irradiation, cytostatics and modern targeted chemotherapy are virtually powerless against cancer stem cells. Our idea is the simultaneous use of radiation in combination with drugs that suppress DNA repair in cancer cells, followed by aggressive chemotherapy, one of the strategic tasks of which is to attack cancer stem cells”, said the author of the research, Director of FEFU School of Biomedicine Igor Bryukhovetsky.

The scientist stressed that he and his colleagues for the first time managed to study proteins that form the WNT signaling pathway and directly interact with its components in stem cells of human CD133 + multiforme gliobastomy. The researchers found that the set of proteins characteristic of glioblastoma stem cells differs fundamentally from that in other types of tumor cells. Scientists have also identified other potential targets, the massive suppression of which can lead to a significant improvement in the results of complex antitumor therapy. This is an important result that needs further refinement and new research at a deeper level.

Impact on glioblastoma cancer stem cells is a far from trivial task, the solution of which involves the world's best laboratories.

“We proceed from the fact that we have proved: cancer stem cells realize their full potential when building the tumor bloodstream, which significantly accelerates its growth rates. Suppression of proteins of the WNT-signaling pathway will increase the effectiveness of anti-angiogenic therapy - treatment, directed against the formation of new microvessels based on the existing vascular network in the tissue. Such therapy is an integral part of the modern protocol for the integrated treatment of glioblastoma. The results of these studies can be introduced into clinical practice in the near future”, concluded Igor Bryukhovetsky.