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Invest New Drugs. 2012 Feb 2. [Epub ahead of print]

Blood glutamate scavengers prolong the survival of rats and mice with brain-implanted gliomas.

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Department of Neurobiology, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, 76100, Israel,


L-Glutamate (Glu) plays a crucial role in the growth of malignant gliomas. We have established the feasibility of accelerating a naturally occurring brain to-blood Glu efflux by decreasing blood Glu levels with intravenous oxaloacetate, the respective Glu co-substrate of the blood resident enzyme humane glutamate-oxaloacetate transaminase (hGOT). We wished to demonstrate that blood Glu scavenging provides neuroprotection in the case of glioma. We now describe the neuroprotective effects of blood Glu scavenging in a fatal condition such as brain-implanted C6 glioma in rats and brain-implanted human U87 MG glioma in nude mice. Rat (C-6) or human (U87) glioma cells were grafted stereotactically in the brain of rats or mice. After development of tumors, the animals were drinking oxaloacetate with or without injections of hGOT. In addition, mice were treated with combination treatment, which included drinking oxaloacetate with intracutaneous injections of hGOT and intraperitoneal injection of Temozolomide. Animals drinking oxaloacetate with or without injections of hGOT displayed a smaller tumor volume, reduced invasiveness and prolonged survival than control animals drinking saline. These effects were significantly enhanced by Temozolomide in mice, which increased survival by 237%. This is the first demonstration of blood Glu scavenging in brain cancer, and because of its safety, is likely to be of clinical significance for the future treatment of human gliomas. As we demonstrated, the blood glutamate scavenging treatment in combination with TMZ could be a good candidate or as an alternative treatment to the patients that do not respond to TMZ.


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