Researchers have identified a new family of genes responsible for the growth of tumours in a wide spectrum of high-grade brain cancers.
The study, published in the journal Cell Reports, could lead to new therapies to treat aggressive brain tumours.
“With these new genetic findings, our researchers plan to develop targeted therapeutics that we hope will one day be used treat patients with high grade brain tumours and increase their survival,” said lead author Joshua Breunig, research scientist at the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute in the US.
High grade brain tumours, known as gliomas, are difficult to treat and most patients treated for primary gliomas develop into secondary gliomas, which are almost always fatal.
“Any given tumour can harbour a variety of different combinations of mutations,” one of the study authros Moise Danielpour from Maxine Dunitz Children’s Health Centre said.
“Despite advances in radiation and chemotherapy, there are currently no effective curative regimens for treatment for these diverse tumours,” Danielpour said.
The researchers first modelled high grade brain tumours from resident stem cells inside the brain, using a cutting edge method of rapid modelling that can create up to five distinct tumour models within 45 minutes.
After effectively modelling high grade brain tumours, they identified the Ets (E26 transformation-specific) family of genes as contributors to glioma brain tumours.
These Ets factors function to regulate the behaviour of tumour cells by controlling expression of genes necessary for tumour growth and cell fate, and when expression of the Ets genes is blocked, researchers may be able to identify and strategise novel treatment therapies.