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Researchers pinpoint origin of deadly brain tumor
Date:1/7/2011

Scientists have identified the type of cell that is at the origin of brain tumors known as oligodendrogliomas, which are a type of glioma a category that defines the most common type of malignant brain tumor.

In a paper published in the December 2010 issue of the journal Cancer Cell, investigators found that the tumor originates in and spreads through cells known as glial progenitor cells cells that are often referred to as "daughter" cells of stem cells. The work comes at a time when many researchers are actively investigating the role that stem cells which have gone awry play in causing cancer. For scientists trying to create new ways to treat brain tumors, knowing whether stem cells or progenitor cells are part of the process is crucial.

"In many ways progenitor cells are controlled by completely different signaling pathways than true stem cells," said Steven Goldman, M.D., Ph.D., a University of Rochester Medical Center neurologist who was part of the study team. "Knowing which type of cell is involved gives us a clear look at what drug approaches might be useful to try to stop these tumors. Comparing normal progenitor cells to progenitors that give rise to tumors gives us a roadmap to follow as we try to develop new treatments."

The study was the product of a multi-institutional collaboration led by William Weiss, M.D., Ph.D., a neuro-oncologist at the University of California at San Francisco.

The study focuses on oligodendrogliomas, a type of tumor that presents with symptoms much like other brain tumors headaches, seizures, and cognitive changes. The tumors are treated with a combination of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Oligodendrogliomas at first are less deadly and invasive than most other gliomas. Unfortunately, treatments like surgery typically slow or stop the tumor initially, but it usually returns, often in a much more aggressive form than it was to begin with. The majority of patients with ol
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Contact: Tom Rickey
tom_rickey@urmc.rochester.edu
585-275-7954
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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