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 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

Link Discovered between Immune System, Brain Structure and Memory

26.04.2017 | Life Sciences

New survey hints at exotic origin for the Cold Spot

26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA examines newly formed Tropical Depression 3W in 3-D

26.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>