An insulin delivery drug may also be able to fight a fatal type of brain cancer, a new study says.
The compound molecule surfen was able to block the growth and spread of glioblastoma, tumors that reach out into healthy brain tissue, according to research published Wednesday in FASEB Journal.
Glioblastoma is regarded as fast-growing and fatal because it's normally resistant to treatment.
"This study shows that we can stifle the growth of invasive brain tumors with a compound that has a substantial clinical advantage, and can aid in the reduction or refinement of mainstream treatments, particularly radiation and/or chemo," Lohitash Karumbaiah, a researcher at the University of Georgia and study author, said in a news release.
For the study, the researchers first looked at the binding properties of surfen in lab culture cells. Then they tested the compound molecule on animals.
Surfen was then used to treat mice with cells that could become invasive tumors, and researchers saw the tumors grow smaller and the mice have less brain bleeding than control animals.
"In the non-treated image, you see rampant invasive growth, compared to the surfen-models where you see a nicely contained and almost circular-shaped tumor," said Qun Zhao, a researcher at the University of Georgia and study author.
Now, the researchers want to use these findings to speed up the review and approval process for the drug to get it on the market for use on humans.
In all, white people have twice the risk of developing the glioblastoma than black people, according to the National Institutes of Health.
"Our hope is that, in the wake of this discovery, lives can be saved, and we can finally change the scope of this life-threatening disease," Karumbaiah said.