A recent study cooperated by Israel and the United States found that glioblastoma cells are divided into four subtypes, and each subtype converts to each other, which explains one reason why glioblastoma cells are difficult to be killed by drugs.
Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, Massachusetts General Hospital and the Salk Institute for Biological Research found that glioblastoma differs between patients, even between cells within the same tumor. At present, there is no effective therapy because each drug can only kill part of the tumor cells, and effective treatments in the future must be able to attack all four subtypes of glioblastoma cells.
The researchers obtained tumor samples from 28 patients with glioblastoma and used the “single-cell RND (ribonucleic acid) sequencing” technique to create a gene expression profile of approximately 24,000 tumor cells. After analysis, the researchers identified the characteristics and conditions of four different subtypes of glioblastoma cells, each with its own unique gene activation program.
The researchers injected glioblastoma cells from humans into the mice. After tracking, it was found that the characteristics of these tumor cells changed and they switched between different subtypes. This explains why glioblastoma cells are difficult to kill by drugs, thereby, making the disease difficult to treat.
The researchers hope to explore targeted therapy by studying the specific drug response of each subtype of glioma cells to achieve the goal of curing glioblastoma. This research method can also be used to understand the cellular subtypes of other cancers.
As a common malignant brain tumor, the common treatments for glioblastoma are to remove the tumor as much as possible, and then use radiotherapy and chemotherapy to prolong life. However, due to the presence of tumor cells in the brain, the average life expectancy of patients after diagnosis can only be calculated in months.