New pathway 'could prevent brain cancer surgery'

Brain tumour patients could soon be treated without the need for surgery.

Research from the German Cancer Research Center and Heidelberg University Hospital has indentified a metabolic pathway that causes glicomas – an aggressive brain tumour – to grow while inhibiting the body's immune system.

Doctors explained the newly-discovered metabolic pathway begins with the breakdown of an amino acid and results in the stimulation of tumour-growing receptors.

"We will start searching for substances that specifically inhibit this metabolic pathway and may be used as potential anti-tumour drugs," said Professor Wolfgang Wick, co-leader of the study.

Scientists believe this development is important as many glicomas reoccur after they are removed by surgery.

Malignant brain and spinal cord tumours were responsible for 3,674 deaths in the UK in 2008, according to Cancer Research UK.

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