Recent Results in Cancer Research Volume 171, 2009, pp 155-164

Other Experimental Therapies for Glioma

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Experimental therapies for glioma are mostly based on the insights into the cell biology of the tumors studied by modern methods including genomics and metabolomics. In surgery, intraoperative visualization of residual tumor by fluorescence has helped with the radicality of resection. Although temozolamide has become an important agent in the combined radiochemotherapy of newly diagnosed glioblastoma, understanding the underlying mechanisms of action and resistance has led to alterations in dosing schemes, which may be more beneficial than the introduction of new agents. Targeted therapies that have been highly promising in other solid tumors have been rather disappointing in gliomas, not for the lack of promising targets but most likely due to inefficacy of the reagents to reach their target. Direct delivery of reagents with interstitial infusion via convection-enhanced delivery has proven to be safe and effective, but the potential of that technology has not been exploited because many technicalities are still to be worked out, and better, more selective reagents are needed. Gene therapy has been reactivated with direct adeno-viral application to transfer HSV-Tk into tumor cells by adenoviral vectors, still awaiting final analysis. Oncolytic viruses are also under long-term refinement and await definitive pivotal clinical trials. Immunotherapy is currently focusing on vaccination strategies using either specifically pulsed dendritic cells or immunization with a specific peptide, which is unique to the vIII variant of the epidemal growth factor receptor. An area attracting immense attention for basic research as well as translation into clinical use is the characterization of neural stem cells and their theraputic potential when appropriately manipulated.

In general, there is a wide spectrum of specific neuro-oncological therapy developments, which are not only extrapolated from general oncology but also based on translational research in the field of glioma biology.