I read this article and wanted to blog about it. My next few posts will also highlight current published or referenced research—research which may directly impact advancements in brain tumor treatment.

This first article references work by a team of researchers from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.  It begins by stating, “Tumors are notoriously hard to kill. Attack them with chemotherapy, and they develop drug resistance; surgically remove them, and they may have already metastasized to other parts of the body. Now scientists have found that tumors have yet another trick up their sleeve: They can create their own blood supply by morphing into blood vessels. The observations, reported by two separate teams online in Nature, could explain why drugs designed to choke off blood to brain tumors often fail.”

Experiments on Glioblastomas

These researchers drew a link between tumor cells and blood vessel cells with a series of experiments on Glioblastoma tumors. Their final analysis: There is plasticity within the tumor, and it can make its own blood vessels. This helps explain why cancer drugs aimed at choking off a tumor’s blood supply by blocking growth signals, known as angiogenesis inhibitors, usually stop working within about 6 months.

A separate team of researchers in Rome published a similar set of experiments, both teams suggesting that combining antiangiogenesis drugs with another drug that stops the stem cells from maturing might be a way to overcome resistance in gliomas and perhaps other cancers. Angiogenesis researcher David Cheresh of the University of California, San Diego stated, “These two papers will put the controversy to rest.”