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Unlocking the genetic and molecular mystery of soft-tissue sarcoma
Date:11/30/2011

y inducing these tumors in mice, Wagers says the scientists knew when the tumors would form in the mice and where in the body they would develop, which helped them better understand the molecular and genetic pathways underlying the disease. With this knowledge, researchers may be able to develop new intervention strategies that interfere with these genetic activities and stop the growth of this type of tumor.

"With the engineered system we developed, we can find new fragile points in the tumor to target," says first author Simone Hettmer, MD, a pediatric oncologist at the Dana-Farber/Children's Hospital Cancer Center, who treats children with these tumors. In addition, she adds, the system allows scientists to look at the genetic changes in sarcomas and how they interact with the development of tumors and can be applied to sarcomas in tissues other than skeletal muscle.

Surprisingly, says Wagers, the researchers found they could induce tumors using several different "beginning" cells. The scientists generated tumor cells using stem cell-like cells that go on to make either muscle or other connective tissues. Tumors that develop from muscle cells were rhabdomyosarcomas, the most common form of soft-tissue sarcoma seen in children, while tumors that developed from non-muscle cells represented other types of sarcoma.

Wagers and her colleagues are now working on establishing a similar engineered model using human cells to test the effectiveness of anti-sarcoma medications. These preclinical experiments are designed to identify the most promising candidates for the treatment of soft-tissue sarcoma that ultimately will be pursued in human clinical trials. Early studies have identified several chemical compounds that, in cell cultures at least, appear to slow the growth of sarcoma cells.


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Contact: Jeffrey Bright
jeffrey.bright@joslin.harvard.edu
617-309-1957
Joslin Diabetes Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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