Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Possible birthplace of malignant brain tumors identified

Researchers have found that abnormal stimulation of a cellular trigger that normally regulates replenishment of brain cells in adults causes invasive tumor-like growths in mice. Removing the abnormal stimulation causes the growths to regress--a finding the researchers said suggests a possible treatment for the lethal, aggressive brain tumors called malignant gliomas.

Arturo Alvarez-Buylla and Erica L. Jackson, of the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues reported their findings in a paper in the July 20, 2006, Neuron, published by Cell Press. In their studies, they sought to discover whether neural stem cells in the brain called B cells carry a receptor--known as platelet-derived growth factor receptor á (PDGFRá)--for the signaling molecule PDGF.

Neural stem cells are immature cells that serve as the continual source of new brain cells in adults, and PDGF is known as an important regulator of such cells. Also, PDGF has been implicated as a key signaling molecule underlying the formation of brain tumors. PDGF triggers such cell response by plugging into the target receptor on the stem cell, like a key inserting into a lock.

There had been indirect evidence that neural stem cells give rise to brain tumors. "However, it has not been shown in vivo that tumor stem cells are derived from normal stem cells or that a specific population of cells with demonstrated stem cell properties is capable of initiating tumor formation," wrote the researchers.

Using tracers, the researchers discovered that PDGFRá is, indeed, found on the stem cells in both mouse and human brain tissue. They also found that the receptor is triggered by PDGF in the stem cells to regulate their production of mature brain cells. The researchers located the PDGFRá-containing cells in the subventricular zone (SVZ) of the brain, which is the center for production of new brain cells in adults.

The researchers also found that infusing PDGF into mouse brain caused abnormal growth--called hyperplasia--of tumor-like nodules that invaded surrounding brain tissue. Their analysis indicated that the PDGF infusion caused the stem cells to halt their normal production of mature brain cells and launch into the abnormal proliferation pathway. Importantly, the researchers found that stopping the PDGF infusion caused a complete regression of the nodules.

The researchers wrote that "these findings are significant due to our limited knowledge of surface markers for neural stem cells. Our data also provide evidence of a link between these PDGFRá B cells and the early changes associated with tumor initiation, suggesting they may be targets of neoplastic transformation. The regression of atypical hyperplasia after PDGF removal described here suggests that inhibition of PDGF signaling could provide a useful therapy for those gliomas in which the pathway is upregulated, especially given the recovery of the normal architecture after regression of the hyperplasia."

In a preview of the paper in the same issue of Neuron, Santosh Kesari and Charles D. Stiles wrote that the new findings "lend weight" to the argument that the stem cells identified by Alvarez-Buylla and his colleagues are the cells or origin for malignant gliomas. They wrote that such work offers "therapeutic opportunities," emphasizing that "the people that matter the most do not have the luxury of time to watch this work unfold. The median interval from diagnosis to death for patients with malignant glioma is currently only 14 months."

Heidi Hardman | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht First time-lapse footage of cell activity during limb regeneration
25.10.2016 | eLife

nachricht Phenotype at the push of a button
25.10.2016 | Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

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

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Ice shelf vibrations cause unusual waves in Antarctic atmosphere

25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

Fluorescent holography: Upending the world of biological imaging

25.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Etching Microstructures with Lasers

25.10.2016 | Process Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>