A compound that kills cancer can sneak past the blood brain barrier, which protects the brain from foreign substances, to do its work in fighting a particularly invasive brain cancer, according to a new Saint Louis University animal study.

“The bottom line is, if you can get drugs into the brain, you can cure brain cancer,” says William A. Banks, M.D., professor of geriatrics in the department of internal medicine and professor of pharmacological and physiological science at Saint Louis University School of Medicine.

The compound called JV-1-36 is an antagonist of the hypothalamic growth hormone- releasing hormone, which has been found to cause cancerous tumours, such as malignant glioblastomas, to grow. The main known purposes of the hypothalamic growth hormone-releasing hormone usually are to trigger the hormone that makes children grow and affect how glucose is used in adults.

Researchers found that the P-gp system, an extra guardian located at the blood brain barrier that usually keeps anticancer drugs out of the brain, intercepted some of the JV-1-36 that was injected into mice but let much of it pass into the brain to treat cancer.

“The blood brain barrier is set up to very carefully patrol what it lets into the brain and what it keeps out. It makes these decisions based on the physicochemical properties,” says Banks. “Most of our drugs that fight cancers are toxic to cancer cells and to other cells, too. That’s why the blood brain barrier locks them out of the brain.”

“There are times when there’s a big difference between an animal model and the human condition. In terms of getting drugs across the blood brain barrier to fight cancer, there’s not such a big difference. There’s pretty much the same rules in any blood brain barrier – be it in a mouse or human,” Banks adds.

MEDICA.de; Source: Saint Louis University Health Sciences Center