Could an amino acid hold the key for starving GBM cells to death?

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Researchers led by Dr. Nelofer Syed at the Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence at Imperial College London have published ground-breaking research in ‘Cell Death & Disease’, part of the Nature publishing house. Their paper shows that in a mouse model, a drug that depletes levels of arginine is particularly effective when used alongside temozolomide, a standard of care chemotherapy drug already used in humans for glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most challenging of adult brain tumours.

Arginine is an amino acid, one of the building blocks of protein that can also be used as a source of energy by GBM brain tumours. The drug, ADI-PEG20, is already in early stage clinical trials for castrate-resistant prostate cancer, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), so the most effective and best tolerated dose is already well on the way to being safely established in humans. This means that as a repurposed drug, it can potentially be moved into human clinical trials for GBM more quickly than if researchers were working with a completely novel drug.

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