University of Lethbridge researcher continues his quest to develop a new treatment for brain cancer

Dr. Nehal Thakor, a ULethbridge professor of chemistry and biochemistry, is one of only two Canadian researchers to earn a grant from the American Brain Tumor Association as he continues his quest to find a new therapeutic target for glioblastoma, a deadly brain cancer.

The funding is a $50,000 US award from the association, with partial funding from the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada. The one-year grants support high-risk, high-reward innovative approaches that have the potential to change existing diagnostic or treatment standards. The association recently announced a $1.3-million investment to accelerate research into adult and pediatric tumours.

“I am extremely grateful to receive this funding,” says Thakor. “Frontline therapeutic agents are failing in the clinic, and there is an urgent need to develop novel therapeutic intervention strategies for treating patients with glioblastoma tumours. This is one of the deadliest cancers and even with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, the average survival rate is only 15 months.”

Thakor and his research team want to understand the mechanism that makes glioblastoma such an aggressive cancer. They have identified a protein that allows glioblastoma cells to survive under conditions that normally cause cell death. His research will help validate the protein as a target for therapeutics.

“Dr. Thakor’s research has the potential to benefit many people diagnosed with glioblastoma,” says Dr. Dena McMartin, ULethbridge vice-president (research). “His success in obtaining this funding speaks to the quality and value of his work, as well as the exceptional facilities and health and medical researchers at the University.”