A team of researchers working with the University of Adelaide now claim that a drug typically used to treat the nausea experienced by patients who undergo chemotherapy might also help stop the growth of brain tumors.
Furthermore, the scientists are quite convinced that this anti-nausea medication could serve to destroy some of the cancerous cells present inside an individual's brain.
The idea that anti-nausea drugs could help improve on the health condition of people affected by brain tumors first came to the researchers while they were busy investigating the links between such abnormal formations and a peptide referred to as “substance P.”
Newswise explains that said peptide is known to go hand in hand with inflammation in the nervous system, courtesy of its binding with a so-called NK1 receptor.
Therefore, the scientists wished to see whether or not the anti-nausea medication might serve to keep the peptide from binding with the NK1 receptor, the same source informs us.
“We wanted to know if these elevated levels of the peptide were also present in brain tumor cells, and if so, whether or not they were affecting tumor growth. Importantly, we wanted to see if we could stop tumor growth by blocking substance P,” explained Dr. Elizabeth Harford-Wright, one of the scientists involved in carrying out these experiments.
By the looks of it, Emend®, i.e. the anti-nausea drug used in this research project, was quite efficient in terms of keeping substance P from behaving as it normally would have.
Thus, it managed to halt the growth of the brain tumor and it even killed off some of its cells.
“We were successful in blocking substance P from binding to the NK1 receptor, which resulted in a reduction in brain tumor growth – and it also caused cell death in the tumor cells. So preventing the actions of substance P from carrying out its role in brain tumors actually halted the growth of brain cancer,” said Dr. Elizabeth Harford-Wright.
“This is a very exciting result, and it offers further opportunities to study possible brain tumor treatments over the coming years,” Dr. Elizabeth Harford-Wright wished to stress.