Incurable Brain Cancer Gene Is Silenced. A research team from Northwestern University is the first to demonstrate delivery of a drug that turns off a critical gene in this complex cancer, Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), increasing survival rates significantly. In animals with GBM, the survival rate increased nearly 20 percent, and tumor size was reduced three to four fold, as compared to the control group. This brain cancer that killed Sen. Edward Kennedy and kills approximately 13,000 Americans a year, is aggressive and incurable. The median survival rate is 14 to 16 months, and approximately 16,000 new cases are reported in the U.S. every year
“My research group is working to uncover the secrets of cancer and, more importantly, how to stop it,” said Stegh, a senior co-author of the study. “Glioblastoma is a very challenging cancer, and most chemo-therapeutic drugs fail in the clinic. The beauty of the gene we silenced in this study is that it plays many different roles in therapy resistance. Taking the gene out of the picture should allow conventional therapies to be more effective.”
Stegh is an assistant professor in the Ken and Ruth Davee Department of Neurology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and an investigator in the Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute.