Pharmacy students at the University of Findlay (UF), Ohio, have had a major breakthrough in their groundbreaking treatment for one of the deadliest forms of brain cancer.
The most aggressive form of brain cancer, Glioblastoma develops in the brain or spinal cord and is nearly impossible to remove, with experts putting the five-year survival rate at under 10%.
However, it’s hoped that figure may be about to improve, with the discovery of a new drug to help treat the condition.
Yep, chalcone is most commonly found in that staple of millions of diets across the world – curry!
Doctor Rahul Khupse, a medicinal chemist working on the project at UF, grew up in India and said that he discovered chalcone has anti-inflammatory properties as well as anti-cancer properties while at grad school.
According to Rahul Khupse, “Finding those compounds, we can not only get to the brain or get to the brain cancer but also spare the normal cells, the normal brain cells. This is very, very important for us.”
Using Dr Khupse’s work as their base, the team at UF then worked to develop the new compound they’ve nicknamed ‘RK-15’. But the most important breakthrough to come with RK-15 is its ability to selectively target brain cancer cells while sparing healthy cells.
According to the team, RK-15 also penetrates the brain-blood barrier, or BBB – the brain’s defence system – while also targeting the resistant cancer cells, making the compound roughly 100 times more selective towards the infectious cancer cells.
According to Jacob Reyes (one of the students who were a part of this discovery) RK-15 was smart enough to just attack the harmful cells while leaving healthy brain tissue as it is.
Reyes told, “It’s such a great opportunity. And I think one of the great things about Findlay is that it’s one of those small schools where you can kind of get a more one-on-one interaction with your professors, and have an easier time getting the opportunity to get in the lab and make drug compounds like this that may someday make a difference.”
Researchers said the next step is to test on animals, then continue clinical testing on humans before it could get approved by the FDA.
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