Chemo drug provides brain-cancer hope

A common drug used for chemotherapy side effects may help halt the growth of brain cancer, an Adelaide neuroscientist has found.

Dr Elizabeth Harford-Wright, of The University of Adelaide, discovered that the drug decreased tumour cell growth in mice by blocking a neuropeptide contributing to its growth.

“Our study has been one of the first to demonstrate that a neuropeptide named substance P is substantially increased in brain tumours. We thought that this increase might be driving tumour growth,” says Elizabeth, who did the research as part of her PhD.

During the study, the chemotherapy drug was administered to mouse models, which resulted in the reduction of brain tumour size, the prevention of further cancer cells and the increased death of tumour cells.

“These are very exciting results and allow us the opportunity to further study the potential of this drug as a treatment for brain tumours in the future,” Elizabeth says. “An additional benefit of this drug is that it is already used in cancer clinics to help patients with the side effects of chemotherapy,”

In Australia, one person dies from a brain tumour every eight hours. Prognosis is often very poor for brain cancer patients, making investigation of new therapies vital.elizabeth01

SA State Finalist: Elizabeth Harford-Wright, Adelaide Centre for Neuroscience Research

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