New research from the University of Sussex could help extend life expectancy and improve treatment for aggressive brain cancer, which affects thousands of people in the UK each year, and millions worldwide.

In the study, published in the journal Advanced Science, researchers discovered that an unstudied protein called PANK4 can prevent cancer cells from responding to chemotherapy treatment for the highly invasive brain cancer, glioblastoma.

Cancer cells respond better to a key chemotherapy drug used globally to treat glioblastoma if the protein is removed, Sussex scientists have shown.

Professor Georgios Giams, Professor of Cancer Cell Signaling at the University of Sussex, explains:

“Glioblastoma is a devastating brain cancer, and researchers are working hard to identify ways to delay the progression of the disease, and to combat the cells’ resistance to treatment. This is the first time that PANK4 has been identified in glioblastoma. Added, the next step is to develop a drug that targets this protein in an attempt to reverse chemoresistance and restore sensitivity, ensuring that patients receive the best treatment and better outcomes. Get results.”

Glioblastoma is one of the most aggressive forms of brain cancer. Around 3,200 adults are diagnosed with the disease each year in the UK, and around 250,000 – 300,000 globally, with survival rates at best of just one to 18 months after diagnosis.

After surgery to remove the tumor, glioblastoma patients are usually treated with radiation and the chemotherapy drug, temozolomide. Although patients initially respond well to the drug, cancer cells quickly develop resistance to the treatment.

Scientists from the University of Sussex led an international research team to understand the possible causes of this resistance, helping to guide future treatments to improve the quality of life and survival of people with glioblastoma. Therefore, the life expectancy can increase.

The team identified a protein called PANK4 that, when removed from cancer cells, can trigger cell death, and saw patients respond better to temozolomide.

Relatedly, the researchers found that patients expressing high levels of the PANK4 protein had a lower survival rate.

Dr Viviana Vella, Research Fellow at the University of Sussex, explains:

“There are a number of under-investigated proteins that have great potential for therapeutic intervention. Our study highlights this understudied protein, PANK4, as having a protective role in temozolomide-resistant cancer cells. unveils. will now be used to restore drug sensitivity and improve treatment.”

The study contributes to ground-breaking research by Sussex researchers, which focuses on the early diagnosis and treatment of glioblastoma.

The research group now hopes to develop a drug that reverses chemo resistance and improves the outlook for patients.

Ms Charlie Cranmer, Director of Fundraising and Communications, Action Against Cancer who funded the research, adds:

“Action Against Cancer is very proud to have funded this important research that offers such hope for patients with this type of aggressive brain cancer.”