ARTICLE | Cover Story

LAMbasting brain cancer

November 4, 2010 7:00 AM UTC

Approved therapies to treat brain cancer are not entirely tumor cell-specific and thus can have severe dose-limiting toxicities that decrease their effectiveness. A team of U.S. and German researchers thinks it has overcome this problem with a nanoconjugate that selectively targets brain tumor cells to block production of laminin-411-a proangiogenic protein that is highly expressed in cancerous but not normal brain cells.1 Arrogene Nanotechnology Inc., which already has similar nanotechnologies in preclinical development to treat cancer, has in-licensed the findings.

Laminins are a large class of trimeric extracellular matrix proteins that play roles in angiogenesis, cell adhesion and migration, and other processes in both normal and cancer cells.A team co-led by Julia Ljubimova, professor of neurosurgery and director of drug development and nanomedicine in the Department of Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, previously showed that laminin-411 was overexpressed in 75% of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) tumors compared with in normal brain tissues.2...