Houston Methodist researchers found that mice harboring human glioblastoma tumors in their brains had greatly enhanced survival and weight gain when given a newly developed prodrug. This mitochondrial-targeted prodrug — an inactive compound that cancer cells selectively metabolize to produce an active toxic drug — also greatly improves outcomes when coupled with standard therapies of radiation and/or chemotherapy. The drug selectively targets and destroys the DNA inside the glioblastoma cell mitochondria (the energy factory of the cancer cell) leaving normal cells intact.
In an Oct. 8 study published online in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, investigators used a second generation prodrug called MP-Pt(IV) to target the deadly cells of glioblastoma tumors, a brain cancer that is almost always fatal and has no cure. Life expectancy in humans with glioblastoma ranges from a few months to two years.