Computer Modeling Leads to New Drug Strategy to Target Tumor Growth

Glioblastoma is the most common and aggressive form of primary brain tumors. Studies have shown that patients who are obese, diabetic, or both have the highest incidence of glioblastomas, the deadliest form of cancer and one that has proven nearly unbeatable. Through detailed computer models and experiments on two distinct glioblastoma cell types, the Rice University lab of bioengineer Amina Qutub has found reason to believe therapies that attack the insulin signaling pathway thought to influence tumor development have had mixed results in trials because they go after the wrong targets. The research provides deeper understanding of interactions between key factors in the insulin signaling pathway that influence the growth of glioblastomas. The team's work is the first to establish mechanisms that show why some brain tumors are insulin-sensitive while others appear to be insulin-insensitive.