Researchers have announced a new naturally-derived drug has shown promise in treating a highly malignant form of brain tumor known as glioblastoma multiforme.
The discovery was made at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) where researchers have concluded a Phase II clinical trial of AT-101, a pill produced from a compound found in cottonseed that appears to overcome the abnormal growth patterns of tumor cells.
They obtained encouraging results after administering the drug to 56 patients who were largely unresponsive to traditional treatments for glioblastoma which include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.
After about three weeks taking the pill, many of the patients experienced a significant slowdown in the growth of their tumors, the scientists reported.
"After getting this drug some of these patients went many months without any new growth in their tumors," says Dr John Fiveash, an associate professor in the UAB Department of Radiation Oncology and the lead researcher on the study.
"We are able to do that with a well-tolerated oral medication, and that is a major benefit," he adds.
Fiveash also says AT-101 would likely work best in combination with radiation and chemotherapy to boost the cancer-fighting properties of those treatments.