…..you can cross the blood-brain barrier. This article was very interesting as it crosses some of my current collaborative research. But what I have learned from attending the second Neuro-Oncology Symposium in Minneapolis last week that brain tumors are extremely diverse even within a “group” brain tumors. For instance, the same type of tumor described in the article, the medulloblastoma are indeed split so far into four major groups that are genetically distinct from each others: the Sonic Hedgehog (Shh), the Wnt/beta-catenin, the group C (the most aggressive one) and the group D.
Each of them will not respond the same to the treatment. Adding that so far there is no magical compounds capable to cross the BBB (we are talking about 10-100 times less drug entering the brain than entering other tissues). As I mentioned in my comments section, we have to be very precocious when we talk to science to general audience as we may raise very high hopes but failed miserably in the limbo of clinical trials. What is true in a mouse is not true for a human (especially when we talk about the brain) and what is true for a lung tumor may not true for a brain tumor.
Unless we seriously think about this “fine impermeable barrier” that was discovered by Paul Ehrlich and Edwin Goldmann 100 years ago and learns about how things cross and can be designed to cross, we will miserably fail by constantly hitting the wall. And so far, unfortunately, brain tumors have a clear upper hand on us….Remember, average life expectancy: 18 months, less than 5% reach the 5-year survival set point.