Glioblastoma is the most common malignant cancer in adults. For this cancer, which always ends in death, scientists at the University Hospital of Mainz have discovered a new treatment method ‒ a combination treatment that includes both types of antibodies against anti-EGFL7 and anti-VEGF that inhibit angiogenesis and the chemotherapeutic agent Temozolomide. This combination holds potential for stopping the growth of glioblastoma.
As scientists at the University Hospital of Mainz remind, glioblastoma (GBM) is an aggressive form of brain tumour. It develops from the connective tissue of the brain, glial cells. They divide very quickly, due to which rapid tumour growth is possible. In addition, there is an intense infiltration into the surrounding tissues.
Current treatment options for GBM include radiation therapy, chemotherapy and surgical removal. Since even after successful treatment recurrence usually happens within a year, patients die on average within 15 months after the first diagnosis.
This disease occurs in an extremely large number of young patients. Most patients with glioblastoma are between the ages of 45 and 70 years old. There are twice as many men as women in the total number of those who develop this disease.
Previously conducted studies were aimed at finding ways to suppress the formation of blood vessels in GBM, and thereby cut the tumour off the supply of oxygen and nutrients. These studies have not had a significant effect on the life expectancy of patients yet.
Therefore, scientists led by Professor Mirko Schmidt at the Institute for Microscopic Anatomy and Neurobiology of the University Hospital of Mainz have chosen a new research approach. They have supplemented the existing therapy aimed at fighting against malignant brain tumours with suppression of the little-studied proangiogenic factor EGFL7.
In the shortest possible time, the approach has proved its importance for such neurological diseases as stroke or multiple sclerosis. It has become possible to significantly increase the effectiveness of traditional treatment.
As scientists from the city of Mainz have discovered, the presence of EGFL7 in a brain tumour leads to the formation of new and more developed blood vessels, which again contributes to a faster tumour growth.
Suppressing EGFL7 with the help of special antibodies, they have reversed this process in experimental models of brain tumours. Life expectancy increases in such a way.
The team of scientists led by Schmidt have achieved these results in the framework of special scientific research No 1292 “Purposeful influence of convergent mechanisms of ineffective immunity in tumour diseases and chronic infections” and the German Translational Cancer Research Consortium (DKTK).