Ludwig-developed candidate drug may be effective against broader class of brain cancers
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July 9, 2018, NEW YORK — A Ludwig Cancer Research study explains why a particular mutation in the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), a cell surface protein, results in more aggressive tumors and poorer overall survival of patients diagnosed with the brain cancer glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).

It also suggests that this deadlier form of GBM may be susceptible to a Ludwig-developed antibody drug currently being tested in clinical trials against a different subtype of GBM tumors. GBM is the most common and deadliest type of adult brain cancer.

“This is a perfect example of patient data directing molecular analysis,” says study co-leader Frank Furnari, who is a member of the San Diego Branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research. The study, also led by Zev Binder and Donald O’Rourke of the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), appears in the July 9 issue of the journal Cancer Cell.

Oncologists have long known that EGFR is altered in at least half of GBM tumors. A team led by Binder recently identified a “missense” mutation at alanine 289 (A289) in EGFR that drives a more aggressive and deadlier subtype of the cancer. (A missense mutation causes one amino acid to be substituted

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