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Hopeful News from Yale: Research Teams Find a Promising New Approach to Treating Glioblastoma


Doctors and researchers, eager to discover an effective way to treat glioblastoma multiforme, have new hope in a potential treatment developed at Yale. "[I]n a breathtaking feat of biomedical engineering," W. Mark Saltzman, PhD, along with his colleagues Dr. Toral Patel and Dr. Jiangbing Zhou, "have devised a way to load anti-cancer agents onto nanoparticles and deliver them in high concentrations, via catheter, directly to parts of the brain where the chemotherapy is needed, and also to regions of the brain that current therapies do not reach." See "Nano CP," yalecancercenter.org, Centerpoint Magazine, Spring-Summer 2013, p. 6.

What is exciting about this new approach is its innovative design to bring a cancer-fighting drug in the highest concentration precisely where the tumor is invading the brain, maximizing its potential effectiveness while limiting its toxicity and side effects. Nano CP, p. 7. This method is an enormous improvement over treatments currently in use, where effectiveness is limited by the dynamics of how drugs migrate in the brain. Nano CP, p. 6. Dr. Saltzman's new targeted approach gives neurosurgeons control by making the treatment particles small enough to deliver by catheter but visible on an MRI image so that they can direct the treatment exactly where they want it to go at the right dose and volume. Nano CP, p. 7.

In addition, Dr. Saltzman's technique would not require an incision, so the risk of complications like infection would decrease. Nano CP, p. 7. Further, the infusion time required (from two to six days with other methods) would be reduced to just thirty minutes via Dr. Saltzman's method, and the duration of the drug release could be extended to greater than fifty days because the nanoparticles can be deployed to reside and remain at the site. Nano CP, p. 7.

This groundbreaking potential treatment will soon move from the research lab to Yale's Brain Tumor Center at Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven, co-led by Dr. Saltzman's clinical partner, Dr. Joseph Massa Piepmeier. Drs. Saltzman and Piepmeier are applying for FDA approval and anticipate that clinical trials will begin within a year. Nano CP, p. 6. If the initial trials are successful, then patients with glioblastoma multiforme are expected to benefit from this less invasive and onerous therapy with the hope of an improved prognosis. Nano CP, p.7.

To read the full article, see: yalecancercenter.org/research/programs/therapeutics/471_155942_Nano CP article.pdf