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Cancer-fighting drug shows promise in mice

Published Sep. 28, 2005

Scientists have successfully tested a method of delivering a promising cancer-fighting substance, endostatin, directly to aggressive brain tumors in mice, shrinking the cancers by more than 60 percent.

The feat is a step toward what scientists hope could be a way of attacking the most vicious brain tumors, called malignant gliomas, which kill patients in an average of 12 to 18 months.

The researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital inserted endostatin-producing cells into tiny plastic beads, and when the beads were injected into the tumors, they released a continuous dose of endostatin that attacked the tumors' blood supply.

The tumors were not in the animals' brains, but they were brain tumors transplanted under the rodents' skins.

The report in the current issue of Nature Biotechnology is paired with a paper from Norwegian scientists who got a similar system to work for four months, and injected the endostatin-secreting cells into tumors in rats' brains.

Found naturally in the body, endostatin is being developed commercially as a cancer drug.