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ICMAB's research on brain tumor therapy using boron clusters featured in Journal of Materials Chemistry B's prestigious collection

The research article titled "Boron clusters (ferrabisdicarbollides), shaping the future as radiosensitizers for multimodal (chemo/radio/PBFR) therapy of glioblastoma," has been selected for the 'Most Popular' collection in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Journal of Materials Chemistry B, published by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

23 August 2023

Published in December 2022, the article discusses the innovative use of Boron clusters in the treatment of brain tumors, specifically glioblastoma. This remarkable study led by Clara Viñas (ICMAB) and Dr. Fernanda Marques (University of Lisbon) involves a collaborative effort between ICMAB's Inorganic Materials & Catalysis (LMI) and Nanoparticles & Nanocomposites (NN) groups. Co-authors Miquel Nuez-Martínez, Amanda Muñoz-Juan, Anna Laromaine, and Francesc Teixidor further contributed to the research. The study also involved collaborations with the Universitat Jaume I in Castelló, and the Ruder Boskovic Institute in Croatia.

The selection of this article for the 'Most Popular' collection reflects its impact within the scientific community. The featured works in this collection have been hand-picked from a decade of exceptional research, encompassing the most highly cited and downloaded content published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry B. Moreover, this article had previously gained recognition by being featured on the cover of the Issue 47 (21 December 2022) and being selected by the journal's editors to be one of the 30 articles featured in the 2022 collection of most popular articles. Additionally, Clara Viñas, one of the lead researchers of this study, was included in a special collection by the Royal Society of Chemistry that highlights the work led by female scientists on the occasion of International Women’s Day 2023.

toc cover glioblastoma

Graphical abstract of the article

Abstract of the article

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common and fatal primary brain tumor, and is highly resistant to conventional radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Therefore, the development of multidrug resistance and tumor recurrence are frequent. Given the poor survival with the current treatments, new therapeutic strategies are urgently needed.

Radiotherapy (RT) is a common cancer treatment modality for this type of brain tumor. However, there is still a need to improve its efficiency, while reducing the severe side effects. Radiosensitizers can enhance the killing effect on tumor cells with less side effects on healthy tissues.

This paper presents a pioneering study on two highly stable and amphiphilic metallacarboranes (ferrabis(dicarbollides) ([o-FESAN] and [8,8′-I2-o-FESAN])) as potential radiosensitizers for brain tumor radiotherapy.

The authors propose radiation methodologies that utilize secondary radiation emissions from iodine and iron, using ferrabis(dicarbollides) as iodine/iron donors, aiming to achieve a greater therapeutic effect than that of a conventional radiotherapy.

As a proof-of-concept, authors show that using 2D and 3D models of U87 cells, the cellular viability and survival were reduced using this treatment approach.

The results from the cellular damage response obtained suggest that proton boron fusion radiation therapy, when combined with boron-rich compounds, is a promising modality to fight against resistant tumors. Although these results are encouraging, more developments are needed to further explore these compounds as radiosensitizers towards a positive impact on the therapeutic strategies for gliobastoma multiforme.

For those interested in delving into the details, the full article can be accessed here.


Boron clusters (ferrabisdicarbollides) shaping the future as radiosensitizers for multimodal (chemo/radio/PBFR) therapy of glioblastoma
J. Mater. Chem. B, 2022,10, 9794-9815



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