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:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... ... professionals who believe that with innovative technologies and under the right circumstances, these ... get the benefit of a dual-approach to his or her therapeutic sessions, as ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... 01, 2015 , ... It’s official: Tattoo taboo is a thing of the ... among Millennials (a whopping one in three aged 18 to 25 is inked). As ... with their ink. In fact, RealSelf , the world’s largest community for learning ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... 01, 2015 , ... For the millions of people who ... has launched the VaPro Plus Pocket™ touch free hydrophilic intermittent catheter. “Hollister Continence ... catheter portfolio,” said Michael Gresavage, Vice President North America. "We designed our VaPro ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... Lutronic, a leading innovator of aesthetic ... addition to the devices for sale in the United States. Clarity is a ... 1064 nm Nd:YAG lasers, into a single platform that is easy to own and ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... , ... With FCPX Overlay: Grit , users can apply a grit ... are truly endless, all with a click of a mouse. Each user has full ... depth of field and more, all within Final Cut Pro X. , With FCPX ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/1/2015)... Va. , Dec. 1, 2015  AccuTEC ... unveiled a new corporate logo and brand identity ... the design and engineering of bladed products where ... --> --> Serving manufacturers ... glass, and auto glass equipment, AccuTEC,s product lines ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... , Dec. 1, 2015 During the ... San Francisco, CA , Medinol ... the coronary marketplace. During a satellite symposium, "The ... Design to Minimize Restenosis", a renowned physician panel ... Medinol NIRxcell™ CoCr Coronary Stent System and the ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ) has ... and Disposables Market by product, by Animal - ... offering. --> ) has announced ... Disposables Market by product, by Animal - Global ... --> Research and Markets ( ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: