The researchers said their findings suggest that targeting Olig2 could offer a potential avenue for treatment that would kill tumor cells without affecting normal tissue.
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute investigators Charles Stiles and David Rowitch and their colleagues reported their findings in the February 15, 2007 issue of the journal Neuron, published by Cell Press.
Olig2 is a "transcription factor"—a protein that regulates the activity of genes. Prior studies had indicated that it plays a central role in enabling neural stem cells to replicate during embryonic brain development. Also, studies have suggested that brain tumors might arise from aberrant neural stem cells or the neural progenitor cells to which they give rise.
Analyzing tissue from human gliomas, Stiles, Rowitch, and their colleagues discovered that Olig2 is activated in the stem and progenitor cells found in the tumors. In a mouse model of malignant glioma, they found that knocking out Olig2 function prevented tumor formation in 91 percent of the animals.
Their analysis of the role of Olig2 in both tumor cells and normal neural stem cells revealed that it plays a key role in enabling cell growth. Specifically, they found that Olig2 represses the gene for a cell-replication "brake" called p21, which normally inhibits cell growth. Thus, they concluded that Olig2 is a "unifying feature of normal cell cells and malignant glioma" and a "gateway" gene for brain tumor development.
"Lineage-restricted pathways that regulate brain tumor behavior may represent more specific therapeutic targets with little potential to affect off-target cell types," commented the researchers.
"Brain tumors remain a major cause of cancer-related death despite advances in surgery, imaging, and conventional treatment modalities," they wrote. "This emphasizes the need to develop novel medical strategies based on a comprehensive understanding of the biological mechanisms underlying gliomagenesis."
They wrote that "our findings identify this core transcriptional regulator as an important candidate for antitumor therapeutics." While transcription factors are not generally considered useful targets for anti-cancer drugs, there are multiple ways that Olig2 could be inhibited, as well as ways to target other components of the regulatory pathway by which it exerts its influence on tumor growth, wrote the researchers.
Erin Doonan | EurekAlert!
Atomic-level motion may drive bacteria's ability to evade immune system defenses
24.04.2017 | Indiana University
Two-dimensional melting of hard spheres experimentally unravelled after 60 years
24.04.2017 | University of Oxford
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
24.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.04.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.04.2017 | Life Sciences