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Researchers Recognized for Advanced Research on Brain Cancer



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illustration of the brain. – pixabay

  • Glioblastoma is the most aggressive and most common brain tumor in adults.
  • Since 2005, treatment has remained unchanged and the average survival is 14 months.
  • A CNRS researcher is developing an unprecedented approach in Marseilles that aims to target tumors and their microenvironment through small synthetic molecules. Explanation.

His research project on the most aggressive brain tumor has attracted the attention of the ARC Foundation. For two years, Aurélie Tchoghandjian, a researcher at CNRS in Jakarta
Marseille, will be able to benefit from its team of 50,000 euro financial support to explore new pathways for glioblastoma care. this
Brain tumors affect nearly 2,700 new people each year in France. "Therapeutic challenges are primary, they are cells that cannot be treated," said the researcher, who devotes his thesis on neuroscience to cancer stem cells.

For this brain cancer, the "standard" protocol has remained unchanged since 2005. This protocol consists, where possible, in surgical procedures, followed by radiotherapy and chemotherapy. "Since that date, despite all the knowledge about this tumor, we have not been able to find a better treatment," Aurélie Tchoghandjian said. The trajectory has been well tested by international teams, such as blocking these highly vascularized tumor vessels, able to make their own blood vessels to grow so much "they need to eat," the researchers said. But this approach proved to not produce results in patient survival, an average of 14 months, despite an increase in the quality of life of patients every day.

The Arc Foundation supports the Aurélie Tchoghandjian research project on glioblastoma.
The Arc Foundation supports the Aurélie Tchoghandjian research project on glioblastoma. – ARC Foundation

New approach

From that action, Aurélie Tchoghandjian formulated another hypothesis, which he hoped would ultimately lead to clinical trials. "The idea is to try to use molecules that can act on tumors but also the environment." "I am interested in small synthetic molecules derived from proteins called SMAC, and able to restart the process of death of cancer cells," he continued. They are known as good candidates for targeting brain blood vessels. "

Thanks to preliminary tests, he can observe a decrease in tumor size and recovery called normal blood vessel tissue, which is not dense or complicated. In addition, he found a lot of recruitment of immune cells from peripheral, brain tissue. And researchers are wondering: "Are these cells good or bad for tumors? Do they contribute to tumor regression, or do they participate in the formation of resistance to treatment?".

30 projects are supported in 2018 in Paca

"This project is innovative in the sense that it tries to target tumor cells but also cells from the microenvironment," continued François Dupré, Executive Director of the ARC Foundation. This type of approach has never been tested. "If researchers are among the fortunate to be selected this year – in 2018, the foundation has supported 30 projects in the Paca region, totaling 2.1 million euros – that too for" the clear strong capacity of the project.

In fact, it is enough to listen to Aurélie Tchoghandjian's clear and chosen words to understand the stakes of his research conducted at the Institute of Neurophysiopathology at the University of Aix-Marseille. And understand that if this famous "SMAC" has a positive effect on tumors, they alone will not be enough to fight this cancer: "This is a very complex tumor, which also has genetic factors, remember that household. We can only treat them with molecule It is important to link the others and to find which one The results of the first test are expected for next summer.

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