2018 Research Update
The Project To Cure Foundation has supported pediatric brain tumor research at the Feinstein Institute for over a decade. Work performed in the Symons laboratory over the past several years already has led to a new therapeutic approach for patients with astrocytoma that is currently tested in a clinical trial carried out by Dr. Mark Atlas, Head of the Neuro-Oncology division at Cohen Children’s Medical Center. This trial investigates the effect of mebendazole, a drug that was previously used to treat worm infections.
We recently also found that mebendazole makes radiation therapy more effective. Radiation is often used to treat brain tumors, but it can have severe and life-long side effects. Thus, our new results indicate that we should be able to decrease the dose of radiation used to treat kids with brain tumors, thereby diminishing these often devastating side effects.
Another approach to limit the severe side effects of radiation therapy is to prevent the damage done by radiation to the normal brain. Thus, as radiation damage involves an inflammatory response, last year we initiated a new study to investigate the protective effects of anti-inflammatory agents. Some of these drugs already have been approved for clinical use to treat other conditions and therefore we should be able to proceed to clinical trials in an accelerated fashion.
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