Altitude sickness drug may help to treat glioblastoma

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A drug normally used to treat altitude sickness, Acetazolamide, might counteract the resistance of glioblastoma (GBM) cells to Temozolomide.

Temozolomide (TMZ) is the most frequently used chemotherapy drug for brain tumours. The problem with treating the most aggressive type – GBM – is that some tumour cells become resistant to the drug. This significantly affects the survival rate, which is already very low for GBM patients (15 months on average).

Combining Acetazolamide (which is also used to treat glaucoma and seizures) with TMZ could restore the drug’s ability to kill tumour cells and hence prolong survival rates. Researchers at University of Chicago who carried out this study in animals reported a 30 to 40 percent increase in survival time.

The full study was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

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