A rapid assay for drug sensitivity of glioblastoma stem cells

Hilah Gal, Arik Makovitzki, Ninette Amariglio, Gideon Rechavi, Zvi Ram, David Givol

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22 Scopus citations


Glioblastoma (GBM) is a highly infiltrating, aggressive brain cancer with no available curative treatment. We developed a rapid assay for assessing the effect of various drugs on GBM stem cells. The assay uses a small number of separated CD133+ cells (20,000 in 0.2 ml) in 96-well plate that form neurospheres within 1-2 days. Various drugs disperse the neurospheres within 24-36 h, which can be quantified microscopically. We used the GBM cell line A-172 to develop the conditions for the assay, utilizing Gleevec, the gamma-secretase inhibitor DAPT, and the anti-bacterial peptide amph1D. The results show dispersion of the neurospheres leading to cell death, at relatively low drugs concentrations (<25 μM). Drug combination showed a synergistic effect and disruption of neurospheres under lower concentrations. We applied this assay to the CD133+ cells of surgical specimens from three patients that showed similar results. This assay facilitates a rapid test of drugs on small amounts of fractionated patient's GBM stem cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)908-913
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number3
StatePublished - 6 Jul 2007
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the Kahn Family Foundation for their support. This research was partially supported by the Wolfson Family Charitable Trust on Tumor Cell Diversity, by the Yad Abraham foundation and by a grant from Ruth & Allen Zeigler for Stem Cell research.


  • 96-Well plate
  • DAPT
  • Drug sensitivity
  • Gleevec
  • Neurospheres


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