MSU scientists unveil a potential game-changer in the fight against glioblastoma

NewsGuard 100/100 Score

A team of Michigan State University scientists has unveiled a potential game-changer in the fight against glioblastoma, the most common and currently incurable form of brain cancer.

A team of Michigan State University scientists has unveiled a potential game-changer in the fight against glioblastoma, the most common and currently incurable form of brain cancer.

Their weapon of choice? A drug-like compound named Ogremorphin, or OGM. In laboratory experiments, OGM showed a remarkable ability to kill glioblastoma cells while leaving normal cells unharmed.

Charles Hong, the chair of the Department of Medicine at MSU College of Human Medicine, who led the study, published in the journal Experimental Hematology and Oncology, declared it an "early but extremely promising path to a cure."

What makes OGM special lies in its precision. The researchers targeted an acid sensor called GPR68/OGR1 on the cancer cell membranes, disrupting a crucial signaling pathway that cancer cells rely on to survive and grow.

Because glioblastoma cells acidify their tumor environment and then use the acid-sensing receptor to survive, the OGM compound essentially cuts off their lifeline. We haven't found a single brain cancer cell line that it can't kill."

Charles Hong, Chair of the Department of Medicine, MSU College of Human Medicine

Hong led the study along with his College of Human Medicine colleagues Charles Williams and Leif Neitzel, as well as with researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Hong believes this groundbreaking research isn't confined to glioblastoma alone. Since other cancer types are also known to acidify their tumor environment to thrive and evade traditional therapies, this discovery could also lead to treatments targeting other types of cancer.

The reality of brain cancer is that, even with the standard treatment that combines brain surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, the median survival period is 15 to 18 months following diagnosis, with a five-year survival rate of around 10%. Such an outcome is due to cancer recurrence and treatment resistance.

"We found an explanation for how an acidic tumor environment enables the cancer cells to survive and evade chemotherapy, and at the same time, we found a drug candidate that blocks this survival pathway to selectively kill them without touching normal cells," Hong shared.

"This is just a first step," he added. "Developing a treatment for human glioblastoma patients will take years of research. We hope to have human trials within five years."

Journal reference:

Williams, C. H., et al. (2024). GPR68-ATF4 signaling is a novel prosurvival pathway in glioblastoma activated by acidic extracellular microenvironment. Experimental Hematology and Oncology.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.

You might also like...
Better diet can help prevent the development of dementia as people age