Navigation Links
St. Jude Finds Signaling System That Halts the Growth of a Childhood Brain Cancer

Researchers discover that proteins BMP2, BMP4 and BMP7 inhibit the growth of medulloblastoma tumors, while inducing malignant cells to develop into normal neurons, a finding that may lead to better treatments for the cancer

MEMPHIS, Tenn., March 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A discovery by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital scientists suggests a safer way to treat medulloblastoma, a rare but often fatal childhood brain tumor. The group found that one of the brain's signaling pathways inhibits the growth of the highly aggressive cancer cells.

The researchers discovered that three proteins, designated BMP2, BMP4 and BMP7, halted the growth of medulloblastoma tumors and induced the malignant cells to develop into normal neurons.

"We think we have identified a pathway that can be used to prevent tumor formation and a potential target for therapy," said Martine F. Roussel, Ph.D., a member of the St. Jude Department of Genetics and Tumor Cell Biology. A report on this work appears in the March 15 issue of "Genes & Development." Roussel is the paper's senior author. Several research teams are seeking to decipher the intricate signaling mechanisms that govern the proliferation of cells called granule neuron progenitors (GNPs). These cells go on to develop into neurons in the cerebellum during the first year of life. But the disruption of this differentiation process can trigger medulloblastoma.

Previous research had shown that spurring GNPs to differentiate into neurons requires that BMPs bind to a set of receptors on the cell surface. This binding results in blocking the activity of a signaling pathway triggered by another molecule called Sonic hedgehog.

"What was not known, and what we now find, is that the effect of BMPs on normal GNP cells is almost exactly mimicked in GNP-like tumor cells," Roussel said.

In cell culture experiments, her group found that BMPs rapidly cause the degradation of a protein called Math1, which occurs in dividing GNPs, but not in non-proliferating neurons. Twelve hours after BMP treatment, researchers could detect no Math1 and cell growth soon stopped.

The exact way Math1 works remains unknown. However, in mice the protein is vital to the formation of a normal brain. Mice genetically altered so they do not carry the gene for Math1 failed to develop cerebella.

The St. Jude team also performed gene transfer experiments in mice to test BMPs as a possible medulloblastoma treatment. Using a genetically altered virus, scientists inserted the BMP gene into the cancer cells and showed that the transfer not only halted tumor growth, but induced the cancer cells to change into neurons.

Other authors of this study include Haotian Zhao, Olivier Ayrault and Frederique Zindy (St. Jude) and Jee-Hae Kim (Rockefeller University, New York).

This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health, a Cancer Core Grant, La Fondation pour la Recherche Medicale, the Gephardt Endowed Fellowship Signal Transduction and ALSAC.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. Founded by late entertainer Danny Thomas and based in Memphis, Tenn., St. Jude freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities around the world. No family ever pays for treatments not covered by insurance, and families without insurance are never asked to pay. St. Jude is financially supported by ALSAC, its fundraising organization. For more information, please visit

SOURCE St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine technology :

1. Replikins LLC Finds West Nile Virus Replikin Count Has Reached Its Highest Recorded Value
2. First Osteoporosis Study in Hip Fracture Patients Finds Once-Yearly Reclast(R) Prevents Additional Fractures and Improves Survival
3. Mayo Clinic Study Finds FDA Warning Against Anti-Nausea Drug Droperidol Unnecessary
4. Review of Probiotic Trial Research Finds Only Bifantis(R) Able to Claim Efficacy versus Placebo for IBS Symptoms
5. New Report by Pediatricians Finds Gaps in Preparing to Protect Kids From Pandemic Flu, Offers Recommendations
6. UPDATE: New Report by Pediatricians Finds Gaps in Preparing to Protect Kids From Pandemic Flu, Offers Recommendations
7. Study Finds Starion Instruments Tissue Welding Technology Reduces Pain and Bleeding in Tonsillectomy Patients
8. Providence Hospital Study Finds Communication System Leads to Faster Heart Attack Treatment
9. Retrospective Analysis Finds That Initiation of Insulin Glargine in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes was Associated With a Lower Incidence Rate of Myocardial Infarction as Compared With NPH Insulin
10. St. Jude Finds Molecule That Could Improve Cancer Vaccine and Therapy for Other Diseases
11. Study Finds Fever may Lead to Improved Behavior in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/23/2016)... WAYNE, Pa. , June 23, 2016 ... provider, will launch its next generation clinical outcomes platform, Bracket ... DIA Meeting held on June 26 – 30, 2016 in ... 6.0, the first electronic Clinical Outcome Assessment product of its ... DIA Booth #715. Bracket eCOA 6.0 is a ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Ill. and INDIANAPOLIS , ... students receiving a Lilly Diabetes Tomorrow,s Leaders Scholarship is ... 2016 scholarship winners, announced today online at ... let type 1 diabetes stand in the way of ... has supported the Foundation,s scholarship program since 2012, and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 Revolutionary technology ... Oticon , industry leaders in advanced audiology and ... Oticon Opn ™, the world,s first internet connected ... for IoT devices.      (Photo: ... a number of ,world firsts,: , TwinLink™ ...
Breaking Medicine Technology:
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... 26, 2016 , ... PawPaws brand pet supplements owned by Whole ... enhance the health of felines. The formula is all-natural and is made from Chinese ... PawPaws Cat Kidney Support Supplement Soft Chews are Astragalus Root Extract and ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... Miami, FL (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... The temporary closing of Bruton ... Plant City Observer , brings up a new, often overlooked aspect of head lice: ... The closing for fumigation is not a common occurrence, but a necessary one in the ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 2016 , ... On Friday, June 10, Van Mitchell, Secretary of the Maryland ... iHire in recognition of their exemplary accomplishments in worksite health promotion. , The Wellness ... & Wellness Symposium at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum Heights. iHire was one of ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... CA (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Marcy was in a crisis. Her ... would lash out at his family verbally and physically. , “When something upset him, he ... he would use it. He would throw rocks at my other children and say he ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... of Topricin and MyPainAway Pain Relief Products, join The ‘Business for a Fair Minimum Wage’ ... 2020 and then adjusting it yearly to increase at the same rate as the median ... floor does not erode again, and make future increases more predictable. , The company is ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):