Targeting multidrug resistance in glioblastoma multiforme

Key Information

Cancer type: 
Brain Tumours
Research Institution: 
RCSI & Beamount
Grant Amount: 
Start date: 
October 21, 2013
End date: 
January 12, 2017

Scientific Project Abstract

Although any form of brain cancer is serious, diagnosis of a patient with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) currently holds the worst outcome, with an average survival of only 12-15 months. It is a highly aggressive brain cancer and the main cause of death is reappearance of tumour in deeper regions of the brain. This tumour is then resistant to any further treatment. Some researchers have shown that this is because these reappeared cancer cells have increased the number of pumps on their surface. These pumps, called transporters, rapidly remove the chemotherapy from the cancer cell, not allowing it enough time to act and kill the brain cancer. This project aims at targeting these pumps, so allowing the chemotherapy a longer time within the cancer cells and hopefully increasing its killing abilities. This research will be focused on developing novel technologies to remove these pumps from the cancer cells and then re-assessing the response of these glioblastoma cells to the chemotherapy. Although many researchers focus on finding new drugs to target cancer, quite often improvement of the drugs currently in use, or improving the way in which they are delivered to the cancer cell provides just as much hope for patient survival.

For the non-scientist

One-line description: 
Overcoming drug resistance in aggressive brain cancer
What this project involves: 

The overall aim of this project is to find ways of improving current treatment strategies for aggressive brain cancers called glioblastomas. Treatment of glioblastomas is difficult, in part due to the presence of 'pumps' on the surface of the glioblastoma cells which rapidly remove chemotherapy agents from the cell before it can have any effect. This project aims to find ways of removing these pumps from the cancer cells thereby making glioblastomas more sensitive to chemotherapy treatment.