On Sunday, March 29, 2015, the television program 60 Minutes outlined a phase 1 trial underway at the Duke University Medical Center that uses a modified polio virus injected directly into glioblastoma tumors in the brain as a way to mobilize the immune system to attack, and hopefully eradicate, the normally fatal brain tumor. Two persons in the 22-person phase 1 trial at Duke have been declared “cancer-free” after three years. Eleven patients, however, have died. The Duke story is written up in BioQuick News at https://bioquicknews.com/node/2494. The BioQuick article includes a link to a peer-reviewed Duke article describing how the polio virus has been modified so as to replicate in glioblastoma cells, but not in normal cells—something that was not detailed in the 60 Minutes story. Now, on the heels of the breaking glioblastoma news from Duke, comes a report from Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine that scientists there have identified a microRNA molecule called miR-182 that can suppress the expression of cancer-causing genes in mice with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a deadly and incurable type of brain tumor. While standard chemotherapy drugs damage DNA to stop cancer cells from reproducing, the new method stops the source that creates those cancer cells: genes that are overexpressing certain proteins. "Our study identified miR-182 as a glioblastoma tumor suppressor that reduces the expression of several oncogenes that promote cancer development," said senior author of the study Dr. Alexander Stegh, an Assistant Professor in the Ken and Ruth Davee Department of Neurology and of Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
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