Navigation Links
Some Immature Brain Cells May Promote Tumors

But animal studies show cancer gene can be turned on and off

MONDAY, Jan. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Much like a child who becomes a bully while his peers are becoming thoughtful and kind, some immature brain cells go through an alteration in their development that allows them to grow into cancerous tissue, a new study finds.

National Cancer Institute (NCI) researchers have identified a chemical process that turns off the gene that prevents the growth of tumor tissue. The gene can be turned back on and the risk of tumor tissue reduced, said the team, which suggests a potential avenue for future cancer treatment research.

The cells in question are known as tumor-initiating cells with stem-like properties (TICs). These cells are thought to cause the aggressive brain cancer, glioblastoma multiforme, when there is a breakdown in the way in which the cells' genes are expressed. TICs behave like stem cells in many ways, but, instead of growing into healthy tissues, they grow into a tumor. Researchers have reported the presence of TICs in breast, colon, lung and brain cancers.

The NCI team used tumor tissue from people with glioblastoma multiforme to develop a cell that ignored the effects of two proteins -- bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP2) and ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) -- that usually cause brain stem cells to grow. Instead, the cells partially responded to one protein (BMP2) and not the other, which the researchers explained as an immature, developing cell response.

When the researchers compared the behavior of the specially grown cells with normal neuronal stem cells, they learned that one of the genes that regulates the response to BMP2 was not working in the new cells. When they turned that gene on, the cells began to respond more normally and were less likely to grow into tumor tissue. Further study revealed that the gene was blocked by a chemical process called methylation, which is thought to be responsible for silencing genes that would otherwise prevent many other cancers.

Methylation, the chemical process that could be behind allowing cancer growth, is also key to the growth of cells in young brains, said the researchers, who found that demethylating the newly created cells caused them to behave more normally and in a similar way to brain cells in embryos, confirming the researchers' suspicion that immature brain cells may be at the root of cancer growth.

The team then analyzed 54 glioblastoma multiforme tumors and found that one in five (20 percent) contained signs of the same difficulty with the BMP2 gene that the researchers saw in the lab. These tumors were also methylated.

"This research highlights an example of a stem cell whose normal development has been blocked in such a way as to prevent it from differentiating as well as to force it to contribute to the development of an aggressive tumor," research leader Dr. Howard Fine, chief of the Neuro-Oncology Branch at the NCI's Center for Cancer Research, said in a prepared statement. "The results we have generated can help us better understand the biology of neuronal stem-like starter cells in glioblastoma multiforme and other cancers, and give us a strong rationale for investigating BMPR1B as a potential target for therapeutic development."

The study was published in the January issue of Cancer Cell.

More information

To learn more about brain and spinal cord cancers visit the American Cancer Society.

-- Madeline Vann

SOURCE: National Cancer Institute, news release, Jan. 7, 2008

Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Scientists Report Refinements to Brain Surgery
2. Carnegie Mellon study identifies where thoughts of familiar objects occur inside the human brain
3. Language centers revealed, brain surgery refined with new mapping
4. Brain Turns to Positive Thoughts When Faced With Death
5. Brain imaging and genetic studies link thinking patterns to addiction
6. Sleep chemical central to effectiveness of deep brain stimulation
7. Study suggests some brain injuries reduce the likelihood of post-traumatic stress disorder
8. Pharmacyclics Receives Non-Approvable Letter from the FDA for Xcytrin for the Treatment of Lung Cancer Brain Metastases
9. Scientists identify brain abnormalities underlying key element of borderline personality disorder
10. Mental Decline Faster in Brain-Injured Vietnam Vets
11. Regular Walking Protects the Aging Brain
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... First Choice Emergency Room , the ... Ogunleye, as the Medical Director of its new Mesquite-Samuell Farm facility. , “We ... new Mesquite location,” said Dr. James M. Muzzarelli, Executive Medical Director of First Choice ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... , ... Conventional wisdom preaches the benefits of moderation, whether it’s a matter ... bar too high can result in disappointment, perhaps even self-loathing. However, those who set ... , Research from reveals that behind the tendency to set low ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Marcy was in a crisis. Her son James, ... out at his family verbally and physically. , “When something upset him, he couldn’t control ... use it. He would throw rocks at my other children and say he was going ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Comfort Keepers® of San Diego, CA is excited to announce ... program to drive cancer patients to and from their cancer treatments. Comfort Keepers ... of life and ongoing independence. Getting to and from medical treatments is one ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... The Haute Beauty ... Barry M. Weintraub as a prominent plastic surgeon and the network’s newest partner. ... and the most handsome men, look naturally attractive. Plastic surgery should be invisible.” ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... Roche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) announced that it ... (procalcitonin) assay as a dedicated testing solution for people ... Roche is the first IVD company in the U.S ... assessment and management. PCT is a sepsis-specific ... blood can aid clinicians in assessing the risk of ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 Capricor ... ), a biotechnology company focused on the discovery, ... that patient enrollment in its ongoing randomized HOPE-Duchenne ... exceeded 50% of its 24-patient target. Capricor expects ... third quarter of 2016, and to report top ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- Bracket , a leading clinical trial technology and ... platform, Bracket eCOA (SM) 6.0, at the 52 nd ... 2016 in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania.  A demonstration ... of its kind to fully integrate with RTSM, will be ... is a flexible platform for electronic clinical outcomes assessments that ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: