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Promise is published four times a year by The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

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"There's nothing I want more in this world than a cure. You never know when that day is going to come - that big jump in progress - but it's going to come."

Catherine Ivy

founder, board president, Ivy Foundation

Stop brain cancer STAT
The protein transcription factor STAT3 (signal transducer and activator of transcription 3) has a key role in high-grade malignant gliomas, the most common and aggressive brain tumors, says Amy Heimberger, M.D., professor, Neurosurgery. STAT3 is essential for maintaining cancer stem cells, and it protects tumors by suppressing the body's immune system responses. 

Propelled by support from the Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation, Heimberger's team has developed two ways to shut down STAT3; a small molecule inhibitor to halt STAT3's cancer-driving function, and a nanoparticle that transports a blocking agent to disable the STAT3 signaling pathway in the immune system, unleashing it to destroy the tumor. 

"We're grateful to the Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation for partnering with us to enable preclinical research so we can develop novel therapeutic strategies and the forthcoming launch of clinical trials that will bring them to patients," says Heimberger. "We believe this work has the potential to change the course of treatment for patients with glioblastoma multiforme and other deadly gliomas by improving survival rates and minimizing toxicity."

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