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Marie-Claude

Treatment of Brain Tumors


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My neurologist told me that one day, it might be possible that a tracer may be developed to target pituitary tumors and the days of pituitary surgery may be a thing of the past. He explained that the tumor may be able to be destroyed from within, non-invasively. I just wondered about that... and I still wonder.

 

I know we aren't there yet, but I was intrigued to read this article on brain stem tumors this morning.

 

Technique could one day treat deadly brain tumors

 

Last Updated: 2002-10-04 13:01:06 -0400 (Reuters Health)

 

By Amy Norton

 

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - If new animal research holds up, scientists may have found a way to deliver drugs directly to brainstem tumors that are currently incurable.

 

The technique, developed by researchers at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), was found to safely deliver a so-called "tracer molecule" to the brainstems of monkeys. What's more, researchers were able to use MRI scans to see that the agent was evenly dispersed in the brainstem region they targeted.

 

This is significant because conventional chemotherapy, when it can cross the "blood-brain barrier" that shields the brainstem, does so in an ineffective, non-targeted way, Dr. Russell Lonser, the study's lead author, explained in an interview with Reuters Health.

 

Because of a lack of effective therapy, brainstem tumors called diffuse pontine gliomas, which primarily affect children, are "universally fatal," Lonser noted. The hope, according to the researcher, is that this new drug-delivery technique can be used to treat these tumors, as well as other diseases of the brain.

 

Lonser and his colleagues at the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland, report the findings in the October issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery.

 

The drug-delivery technique, called convection-enhanced delivery (CED), involves using a cannula--a thin, flexible tube--to deliver fluid directly to the brain region to be treated. CED uses small differences in pressure to make infused compounds flow between cells and disperse in tissue.

 

Lonser described the approach as "very targeted...You don't have to fill the whole central nervous system up with the drug."

 

He and his colleagues found that they could safely infuse the brainstems of monkeys with a molecule called Gd-albumin, which they were then able to track using MRI scans. They found that the technique spread the molecule uniformly throughout the treated region.

 

Gd-albumin molecules are similar in size to the molecules of many cancer drugs, and Lonser said these findings indicate that doctors would be able to track drugs in the brainstem should the CED technique be used in humans. He and his colleagues are currently trying to figure out which drugs might be useful.

 

Lonser said they also believe the drug-delivery technique "could have widespread application" in treating other diseases of the brain, including Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative conditions.

 

SOURCE: Journal of Neurosurgery 2002;97:905-913.

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Interesting reading Kristy...thanks for sharing this.  :)

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Guest Erin G.

Kristy- Thanks. ?I really enjoyed that article. ?It would be pretty cool if they can do this type of treatment in the future on CUSHIE patients.

 

Erin :t:

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Heck, yes! ?If they can go up your nostril with cutting instruments to remove your pituitary or tumors on it, they surely could put a small tube up there and inject tumor-killing fluid; and intra-operative MRI's are already being done. ?Sounds like this one might not be a long wait to be available, it's a no-brainer [sorry, I couldn't resist that very bad word pun] :)

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