"This design of WP744 was based on doxorubicin, a widely used drug that is very potent and effective in a lot of solid tumors, but which always has been pumped out of the brain faster than it could accumulate in tumor tissue," Priebe says. "This new drug may represent a treatment not only for tumors that originate in the brain, but also for cancers that tend to metastasize to the brain."
Other novel strategies being investigated at the Brain Tumor Center include use of Temodar with Accutane (isotretinoin), the acne drug, which appears to downshift the ability of gliomas to spread through the brain, Conrad says.
"I think the most important part of the drug cocktail that we hope to eventually give to patients are agents that help block invasion," he says. "We have identified a number of targets and tactics that appear to be promising, and some of them may show up in the clinic in a few years. We have a real sense, and an optimism, that advances are coming."
The newest "old" tools
Optimizing what works - surgery and radiation
Just as researchers are developing new therapeutic agents, surgeons and radiation oncologists at the Brain Tumor Center are maximizing the tools that have long been used to treat brain tumors.
Surgery is a critical component of brain and spine tumor treatment. Neurosurgeons at the center perform more than 1,400 operations annually - one of the largest volume of tumor surgeries in the country. They believe that removing as much of a brain tumor as possible, while sparing precious tissue, will offer patients the greatest chance of a longer life.
In fact, M. D. Anderson surgeons published a landmark study in 2001 demonstrating that the extent of tu
Contact: Nancy Jensen
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center