Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Newly discovered gene could be a prime target in the most lethal brain cancer

20.02.2009
Scientists at Duke University Medical Center and Johns Hopkins University have discovered mutations in two genes that could become therapeutic targets in malignant glioma, a dangerous class of brain tumors.

"The fact that the defective genes code for metabolic enzymes found only in malignant glioma, and not in normal tissue, could make the gene products therapeutic targets," says Hai Yan, M.D., Ph.D., lead author, an assistant professor in the Duke Department of Pathology. The findings are published in the Feb. 19 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

These genetic flaws might also help distinguish between primary and secondary glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), two subtypes of especially deadly malignant gliomas, with survival of only months after their diagnosis. Patients that have mutation of the genes, isocitrate dehydrogenase 1, gene 1 and 2 (IDH1 and IDH2), also had a longer survival time.

Because the researchers found this genetic mutation in several different stages of glioma development, "the results suggested that the IDH mutations are the earliest genetic changes that start glioma progression," said Darell Bigner, M.D., Ph.D., a co-author and director of the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke University. Yet, patients with GBM or anaplastic astrocytoma who had the IDH mutations also were found to live longer than patients with those two cancers who lacked the mutations.

Malignant glioma appears to be two diseases, one that involves IDH mutations and one that doesn't, Yan explained. "As a cancer culprit gene, IDH mutations do contribute to cancer," he said. "Meanwhile, patients with the IDH mutation live longer with their cancer. The IDH mutation could serve as a biomarker that would help single out individuals who are likely to have better outcomes and receive different treatment."

He said that IDH mutations appear to define a specific subtype of GBMs, which is important so that physicians can plan specific treatment strategies to target this specific subtype of GBMs. "All GBMs are basically considered the same and are treated in the same way," Yan said. "Our studies clearly demonstrate that we need to start thinking about them as different. It is entirely possible that treatments that work for the IDH-mutation subtype would not work for the rest of GBMs, or vice versa." Knowing the tumor subtype has significant implications for how we plan future clinical trials for patients with GBMs, he added.

"I can say this is potentially one of the most important discoveries in genetic studies on malignant gliomas, in the low-grade to high-grade forms of the tumor," Yan said. "The results are so clear cut. I have been doing intensive genetic studies in brain cancers for six years, and I have never seen gene mutations as striking as in this study."

The researchers found IDH1 mutations in more than 70 percent of astrocytomas and olidgodendrogliomas (WHO grade II and III), as well as in secondary GBMs (WHO grade IV). Those without the IDH1 mutation had similar mutations in the closely related IDH2 gene. The mutations decreased IDH enzymatic activity. This signaled that IDH mutations are likely important in initiating malignant gliomas, but it is not known yet how they contribute to glioma development.

The findings are important in many ways. IDH can be used to distinguish primary GBMs, which do not arise from an existing tumor, from secondary GBMs, which arise from low-grade glioma tumors. The IDH1 mutation is missing in pilocytic astrocytomas, which means these particular brain tumors arise through a different mechanism.

Mary Jane Gore | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.duke.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Researchers uncover protein-based “cancer signature”
05.12.2016 | Universität Basel

nachricht The Nagoya Protocol Creates Disadvantages for Many Countries when Applied to Microorganisms
05.12.2016 | Leibniz-Institut DSMZ-Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

IHP presents the fastest silicon-based transistor in the world

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

InLight study: insights into chemical processes using light

05.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

High-precision magnetic field sensing

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>