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'Extracellular vesicles' may open new opportunities for brain cancer diagnosis and treatment
Date:4/8/2013

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So far, researchers have identified three general biological functions of EVs: remodeling and removal of cellular components; elimination of "toxic metabolites or unneeded membrane components" from cells; and intercellular communication, providing a means for transferring proteins or genetic information from one cell to another.

In patients with brain cancer, EVs may also provide a way for tumor cells to alter the microenvironment in which they grow. Different types of EVs may perform functions enabling cancers to grow and spread while evading the immune responses that would target tumor cells for destruction.

Could EVs Be Used for Cancer Detection and Treatment?

Scientific efforts to understand EVs and their functionsin normal physiology as well as in cancers and other disease statesare just getting started. But researchers envision new opportunities for the development of biomarkers for diagnosis and monitoring of brain cancers, as well as possible new treatment strategies based on EVs.

Approaches based on identifying specific proteins and genetic material carried by EVs could be useful in identifying brain cancers, and monitoring their status over time. For example, EVs might be used in identifying specific mutations of the IDH1 gene, recently linked to a type of brain cancer called glioblastoma multiforme. Corresponding author Dr. Chen noted in correspondence that "A large consortium effort among neurosurgeons and neuro-oncologists is emerging to assess the clinical utility of the basic science findings highlighted in our review. We anticipate that the next several years will yield important information as teams of scientists and clinicians work to study these questions."

Further studies of the function of EVs may open at least three directions for brain cancer treatment. Treatments could be devised to inhibit the secretion and uptake of tumor-related EVs, which might interfere with their ability to grow o
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Contact: Connie Hughes
connie.hughes@wolterskluwer.com
646-674-6348
Wolters Kluwer Health
Source:Eurekalert

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