Researchers have discovered two gene variants that raise the risk of the pediatric cancer neuroblastoma. This is the first study to link known cancer-related genes HACE1 and LIN28B to neuroblastoma. The study broadens understanding of how gene changes may make a child susceptible to this early childhood cancer, as well as causing a tumor to progress.
U-M scientists stop abnormal brain cell growth in mice with neurofibromatosis using experimental tumor drug, make new discoveries in neural stem cells.
When aggressive, malignant tumors appear in more than one location in the brain, patient survival tends to be significantly shorter than when the disease starts as a single tumor, even though patients in both groups undergo virtually identical treatments, according to research at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Research Institute.
Researchers discovered a mutant form of Chk1 gene that when expressed in cancer cells, permanently stopped their proliferation and caused cell death without the addition of any chemotherapeutic drugs. This study illustrates an unprecedented finding, that artificially activating Chk1 alone is sufficient to kill cancer cells.
“We identified a subset of brain tumor cells that are slower growing or remain at rest, and appear to be the source of cancer recurrence after standard therapy in which the drug temozolomide is given to stop the tumor’s growth,” said Dr. Luis Parada. “Current therapy targets fast-growing tumor cells but not those responsible for new tumors. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first identification of a cancer stem-like cell in a spontaneously forming tumor inside a mammal.”
Researchers discovered that some cases of glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive form of primary brain cancer, are caused by the fusion of two adjacent genes. The study also found that drugs that target the protein produced by this genetic aberration can dramatically slow the growth of glioblastomas in mice.
A new probe developed uses an innovative fluorescence-reading technology to help brain surgeons distinguish cancerous tissue from normal tissue. The probe tool, now already in use at the Cancer Center for brain surgery, may one day be used for surgeries for a variety of cancers.
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital have identified several gene mutations responsible for the most common childhood brain tumor, called medulloblastoma, adding evidence to the theory that the diagnosis is a group of genetically distinct cancers with different prognoses. These and accompanying findings are likely to lead to less toxic, better targeted treatment approaches over the next two years, the researchers said.
Scientists showed in mice that disabling a gene linked to a common pediatric tumor disorder, neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), made stem cells from one part of the brain proliferate rapidly. But the same genetic deficit had no effect on stem cells from another brain region.
Researchers shed light on molecular cause of childhood’s worst conditions as first step toward developing more effective treatments.