Brain Tumors – new exciting developments

Warsaw, Poland
We here at keep an eye out for new and exciting research and report it here when we find it. This is what has just happened with these recent findings with regard to Malignant Gliomas which is a type of brain tumor.
A team of researchers at the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw has come up with potentially ground-breaking new findings with regards to a kind of brain tumor known as a Malignant Glioma.
We have always known that tumors develop and grow because they develop the ability to evade detection by the body’s immune system. Indeed, researchers spent the better half of the 1990s trying to find ways for molecules such as Alpha Interferon and Interleukin-2 to kill tumors. Researchers incubated the body’s immune cells with high doses of Interleukin-2 (IL-2) in an effort to generate what is known as “Lymphocyte Activated Killer Cells” – or LAK cells – and then try to see if these cells were able to kill tumors such as Renal Cell Carcinoma and Malignant Melanoma.
In these new developments, a team in Poland lead by Dr. Bozena Kaminska has discovered that brain tumors known as Malignant Gliomas, seem to evade detection by the body’s immune system by secreting a protein which they have called CSF2. They based their research on this protein on the fact that some of their earlier studies dating back to 2007 had shown that by secreting this protein, Malignant Gliomas are able to “reprogram”, if you will, the surrounding immune system near the Malignant Gliom tumors, to not destroy it.
They followed a hunch. In Breast Cancer, researchers had found that Breast Cancers changed the behavior of the immune system that surrounds them by changing the cells known as Tumor-Infiltrating-Macrophages (or Tumor Infiltrating Lymphocytes – TILs). Breast Cancers did this by secreting a protein which called CSF-1. Well, the team in Poland thought “what if Malignant Gliomas do the same thing?”  – well the answer is no. Malignant Gliomas do NOT secrete CSF-1 as a means to stop the body’s immunce TIL cells from invading them – but the researchers DID find that the Malignant Glioma cells DID secrete a protein which they have called CSF-2! This was their “EUREKA!” moment.
They then blocked the PRODUCTION of CSF-2 by Malignant Glioma cells by blocking the gene which MAKES it – and lo and behold – the Malignant Glioma cells WITHOUT the ability to make and secrete CSF-2 were NOT able to stop the body’s immune TIL cells from invading them and destroying them. Furthermore, it seems that tumor cells that did NOT secreting CSF-2 were found to be “converted” to less aggressive forms (i.e. less “tumor-like”) by the lack of CSF-2 secretion.
This, therefore, immediately presented itself as a possible target for the treatment of Malignant Gliomas.
Dr. Kaminska’s group then took things a logical step further. They asked themselves “What if we could create an “anti-protein” which could actively COMPETE for the binding site of CSF-2?” Well, they did just that. They developed short peptides (which are proteins) which interfere with the binding of CSF-2 to their respective binding site and – as hoped – this seems to have the same effect as removing the gene which makes CSF-2 did in earlier experiments. It stops the Malignant Gliomas and makes them more susceptible to the body’s immune system.
This thus opens up a whole new “can of beans” for possible treatments for Malignant Gliomas. Potentially, we could give patients with Malignant Gliomas these small peptides which compete for the binding site of CSF-2 and their Gliomas would stop growing, become more sensitive to the immune system and – apparently – even become less malignant! As we can expect, the pharmaceutical potential and the financially lucrative possibilities did not escape the notice of those who learned of this. Thus, the “Developed Molecules” and their “relevant genetic tools” for making these molecules are now covered by an International Patent! Surprise, surprise. Oh well. At least we can hope that despite the monetary considerations, if these researchers and others are indeed able to develop a protein which will stop Malignant Gliomas and do so with natural, less aggressive means than radiation and/or chemotherapy, it would be a wonderful step forward in a new direction for the treatment of brain tumors.
We at will continue to keep an eye out for these developments and will report them here as they become available.
‘Till next we speak again,
Mark Sperry for

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