A recent study conducted in Madrid, Spain, has found that a certain protein can stop brain tumor growth, thus increasing the life expectancy of brain cancer patients.

The study refers specifically to glioblastoma brain tumors and has been proven to work on humans. Researchers at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) in Madrid, Spain, led by Maria A. Blasco, head of the Telomeres and Telomerase Group, have observed that, by inhibiting a protein called telomeric repeat binding factor 1, or TRF1, the growth of glioblastomas is halted.

TRF1 is a protein that, as part of a larger protein complex called shelterin, helps to safeguard the protective caps found at the end of chromosomes.

First experimented on mice, the procedure of TRF1 inhibition was noticed to increase the survival rate by 30 percent. The TRF1 found in tumor was blocked, thus blocking the multiplication of cancerous cells.

The inhibition of a protein called TRF1 triggers the inhibition of brain tumor development.


Lead author Maria Blasco believes that the finding is revolutionary in the therapeutic handling of glioblastoma. “We see that inhibiting TRF1 is an effective strategy for treating glioblastoma both by itself and in combination with current radiation and temozolomide therapies.”

Glioblastoma tumors are known to be extremely difficult to treat. They are spreading fast, with patients having a median survival of 15 months.

At present, the treatment with the most efficacy are radiotherapy, combined with chemotherapy (usually temozolomide).

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