EVMS and the Belgium firm UCB are collaborating on a new research project targeting glioblastoma, a malignant tumor that affects the brain. UCB is a global biopharmaceutical company focused on creating value for people living with severe diseases in immunology and neurology.  

The research partnership will use an in-vivo model of Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) and state-of-the-art techniques to study GBM progression and seizures. Alberto Musto MD, PhD, EVMS Associate Professor of Pathology and Anatomy, will work with UCB neuroscientists to focus on treatment options that can lessen seizure frequency and severity in GBM patients.

Currently, there is no cure for GBM.

“The GBM tumor is known for its rapid growth and infiltration, in addition to being highly resistant to current therapies,” says Dr. Musto, who will lead the work at EVMS. “Patients tend to see a decline in quality of life shortly after diagnosis and most do not survive more than a few years after the initial diagnosis.”

Seizures are one of the most serious complications of GBM. “Unfortunately, anti-epileptic drugs are not always effective and can in some situations cause adverse effects that aggravate the prognosis”, Dr. Musto says.

Scientists are still working to understand how GBM impacts the brain’s ability to mediate seizures. “The result,” says Dr. Musto, “is that seizures in GBM patients typically are difficult to control and increase the risk of early mortality”.

Dr. Musto has been studying epilepsy and GBM throughout his career.  His work has involved a study of tumor growth and progression, possible treatment options and seizure modulation caused by GBM tumors and has contributed to the understanding of GBM-induced seizures.