Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Mayo, UCSF team discovers genomic variant that increases risk of brain tumors

27.08.2012
People who carry a "G" instead of an "A" at a specific spot in their genetic code have roughly a six-fold higher risk of developing certain types of brain tumors, a Mayo Clinic and University of California, San Francisco study has found.

The findings, published online today in the journal Nature Genetics, could help researchers identify people at risk of developing certain subtypes of gliomas which account for about 20 percent of new brain cancers diagnosed annually in the U.S. and may lead to better surveillance, diagnosis and treatment.

Researchers still have to confirm whether the spot is the source of tumors, but if it's not, "it is pretty close," says senior author Robert Jenkins, M.D., Ph.D., a pathologist at the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center. "Based on our findings, we are already starting to think about clinical tests that can tell patients with abnormal brain scans what kind of tumor they have, just by testing their blood."

A few years ago, researchers began hunting for regions of the genome that might be associated with the development of gliomas. These groups observed a portion of chromosome 8 that contained single nucleotide polymorphisms or "SNPs" associated with brain tumors. Since then, Dr. Jenkins and Margaret Wrensch, Ph.D., professor of neurological surgery at the University of California, San Francisco, have been using a combination of sophisticated genomic techniques to search for the SNP causing brain tumors to form.

They honed in on seven candidates. One -- the SNP called rs55705857 -- confers a relative risk approaching that is seen with BRCA1, the breast cancer gene. Interestingly, this region was only found through the most laborious method used by the researchers, next generation sequencing, suggesting that experimental and mathematical shortcuts may miss such rare, highly potent gene variants, Dr. Jenkins says.

Drs. Jenkins and Wrensch found that having the "G" guanine version of this SNP -- rather than the more common "A" adenine version -- was strongly associated with slower growing gliomas.

"Being able to tell people that the mass in their brain is this type of tumor is actually good news, because it has a much better prognosis than other brain tumors," Dr. Jenkins says. "So what is it that predisposes people to develop less aggressive, but still lethal, gliomas? That makes understanding the function of this variant even more important."

As part of their work, the researchers compared the sequence of the gene variant throughout mammalian evolution and found that it has been conserved as far back as the platypus. Computer modeling indicated that the region may be a microRNA, a special kind of nucleic acid that controls the activity of genetic messages within cells. The modeling places the SNP within the functional part of the microRNA, suggesting that a change in genetic code from an A to a G could have significant consequences. The research team is investigating whether the microRNA actually exists, and what its functional implications might be.

"The altered microRNA might target tumor suppressor genes, it might activate a cancer gene, it might be involved in regulating the stability of the genome, or there might be something else going on altogether," Dr. Jenkins says. "One of the big challenges of the current genomic era is to assign functions to all these new gene variants."

Study funding at Mayo Clinic was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the Bernie and Edith Waterman Foundation and the Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Family Foundation. Dr. Jenkins is the Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Professor of Individualized Medicine Research at Mayo Clinic.

Study funding at the University of California San Francisco, was supported by the NIH, the National Brain Tumor Foundation, the UCSF Lewis Chair in Brain Tumor Research and by donations from families and friends of John Berardi, Helen Glaser, Elvera Olsen, Raymond E. Cooper and William Martinusen.

More information about gliomas and their treatment is available from Mayo Clinic and the University of California, San Francisco.

About Mayo Clinic Cancer Center

As a leading institution funded by the National Cancer Institute, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center conducts basic, clinical and population science research, translating discoveries into improved methods for prevention, diagnosis, prognosis and therapy. For information on cancer clinical trials, call 507-538-7623.
About Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit worldwide leader in medical care, research and education for people from all walks of life. For more information, visit MayoClinic.com or MayoClinic.org/news.
Contact:
Joe Dangor
507-284-5005 (days)
507-284-2511 (evenings)
Email: newsbureau@mayo.edu

Joe Dangor | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mayo.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Link Discovered between Immune System, Brain Structure and Memory
26.04.2017 | Universität Basel

nachricht Researchers develop eco-friendly, 4-in-1 catalyst
25.04.2017 | Brown University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientist invents way to trigger artificial photosynthesis to clean air

26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ammonium nitrogen input increases the synthesis of anticarcinogenic compounds in broccoli

26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history

26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>