Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is one of the most lethal primary brain tumours, with median survival for these patients slightly over one year.

"The field of targeted therapies in gliomas holds a lot of promise, and IL13Ra2 is in an optimal position to materialize these promises," said Sadhak Sengupta, an Indian-American professor of neurosurgery at the Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and principal investigator of the Brain Tumor Lab at Roger Williams in US.

Targeted therapies are drugs that interfere with specific molecules involved in cancer growth and have been successfully used in the treatment of cancers like breast and blood cancers.

Selectively expressed in GBM and absent in surrounding brain tissue, the interleukin-13 receptor a chain variant 2 (IL13Ra2) was identified as a potential target for therapy for GBM two decades ago.

IL13Ra2 also plays an important role in the growth of tumours. The research also highlights the need for future trials to improve efficacy and toxicity profiles of targeted therapies in this field.

"While early trials are encouraging, we need further research to achieve better targeting of the receptor and improved safety profiles of the treatments," concluded Sengupta.

The study appeared in the journal Neuro-Oncology.

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