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Every year, some 250,000 patients are diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer with a particularly grim prognosis. Even with surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, the tumor comes back in more than 90% of cases, for an average life expectancy of 15 months after diagnosis. CEA-Leti researchers recently tested a new targeted hypothermia treatment at Clinatec.
Hypothermia has known neuroprotective effects. However, until now it had never been used to treat this kind of tumor. The researchers tested the effects of cooling on four different immortalized cell lines from human glioblastoma tumors. The results of in vitro tests revealed that the neuroprotective effects augmented as temperatures decreased. For example, at 28 °C, cell migration was significantly inhibited, and cell proliferation was totally and sustainably halted (for at least 30 days).
A deeper study of the mechanisms involved in the inhibition of tumor growth due to moderate hypothermia is now needed. These results have not yet been tested in vivo, but the researchers are already working on a device and protocol (temperature and duration of exposure) for local treatment of glioblastoma tumors.
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.