New drug makes brain cancer cells explode

By screening over 1,000 different types of molecules, scientists have managed to identify a compound that can literally blow up tumor cells belonging to the most aggressive form of brain cancer; glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). The method will need a lot more testing before it’s ready for human trials.
Should the approach hold up, it could one day form the basis of an entirely new form of cancer treatment. Currently, only 5 percent of patients with GBM survive longer than three years, and the average life expectancy of a patient is 15 months. Even when aggressive therapies are implemented, "GBM is essentially incurable," the researchers wrote in the study.
So identifying vulnerabilities in this cancer’s cells is an essential step in the development of new drug therapies. The compound that eventually caught researchers’ attention is called "Vacquinol-1," and although it certainly did kill cancer cells, it did so in a way that was unlike anything else they’d seen.
The molecule works by shutting off the cells’ ability to control what gets in and out of their walls. This causes bag-like vessels filled with water and other materials, called vacuoles, to accumulate in the cells. Under these conditions, the cells eventually reach capacity and explode. But what’s truly remarkable is that the noncancerous cell types that surround the cancer cells remain intact, so the treatment is actually GBM-specific.