Brain cancer treatment

By Lorraine A. Nelson, College of Pharmacy

PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University researchers provided computer analyses for a new gene therapy study published in Science Translational Medicine.

The study – conducted by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and published May 9 – found stem cell gene therapy could protect blood cells from damage by chemotherapy in patients suffering from glioblastoma (malignant brain tumors), thereby extending life expectancy.
The WSU laboratory of co-author Grant D. Trobridge, assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences, developed bioinformatics software that aided the Fred Hutchinson researchers in evaluating the safety of the procedure. The approach was to remove blood stem cells, add a gene that shields them from chemotherapy used to treat the brain tumor, and then reintroduce these protected stem cells.
Trobridge noted the co-lead authors of the Fred Hutchinson study both received their Ph.D.s at WSU – Jennifer Adair in 2005 and Brian Beard in 2003 – in the School of Molecular Biosciences. Both now work at Fred Hutchinson in the laboratory of Hans-Peter Kiem, who was senior author on the paper.

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