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Glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer, is notoriously hard to treat. The blood-brain barrier blocks conventional chemotherapies from reaching tumors, and many potential new treatments that work well in animal models end up failing in clinical trials.

In a study published in PNAS and co-led by Charles W. (1955) and Jennifer C. Johnson Clinical Investigator Joelle Straehla, researchers assessed tumor-targeting nanoparticles from the Hammond Lab using a microfluidic human tissue model of glioblastoma from the Kamm Lab that closely replicates the blood-brain barrier. They found that cisplatin-bearing nanoparticles coated with peptide AP2 were able to target and kill glioblastoma tumor cells, suggesting that the model could be used to design nanoparticles with a greater chance of success in the clinic.