Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Researchers determine pathway for origin of most common form of brain and spinal cord tumor

Johns Hopkins scientists hope discovery will drive drug treatments

Johns Hopkins researchers say they have discovered one of the most important cellular mechanisms driving the growth and progression of meningioma, the most common form of brain and spinal cord tumor. A report on the discovery, published in the journal Molecular Cancer Research, could lead the way to the discovery of better drugs to attack these crippling tumors, the scientists say.

"We are one step closer to identifying genes that can be targeted for treatment," says study leader Gilson S. Baia, Ph.D., a faculty research associate in the Department of Neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Baia and his team based their study on the knowledge that in roughly two-thirds of cases of meningioma, patients have a mutation in the NF2 tumor suppressor gene, an alteration that disrupts the expression of the protein called Merlin. Merlin, in turn, kicks off a cell signaling pathway called Hippo, and in the new study, Baia and his colleagues determined that if Merlin is missing, the Hippo pathway is disrupted. In normal development, Hippo controls the size of tissues and organs in the body. It is activated when tissue needs to grow and also acts as a brake on uncontrolled growth. ‪If disrupted, a biochemical cascade produces uncontrolled tumor growth.

In meningioma cells, Baia studied the activation of a protein called YAP1, for Yes-associated protein 1, which is regulated by Hippo. Without it, YAP1 moves into the cell nuclei and activates genes whose products trigger tumorigenesis and cell proliferation.

In recent years, the Hippo pathway has been found to play a role in the growth of other types of cancers, but this is the first time the pathway has been implicated in meningioma, Baia says. YAP1 has also been implicated in other cancers, he says, including lung and ovarian malignancies, and the mutation in NF2 has been found in other, less common forms of brain cancers as well as in mesothelioma, a type of lung cancer mostly associated with exposure to asbestos.

In their research, the investigators collected 70 human meningioma tissue samples and found that YAP1 expression was present in the nuclei of all of the samples, regardless of tumor "grade," meaning it appears to be a molecular mechanism involved in the earliest stages of meningioma development. In the lab, Baia knocked down the amount of YAP1 in cell nuclei and found that tumor proliferation went down. When there was more YAP1, the cells grew and also migrated more.

Baia and his team also injected human cell lines in which YAP1 was overexpressed into the brains of the mice. "With excess YAP, all of the mice got tumors," Baia says.

The next step, Baia says, is to determine the exact genes activated by the arrival of YAP1 in the cell nuclei. Then, the hope is, new treatments can be developed to target those genes, he adds.

The research was supported by donations from Leonard and Phyllis Attman and the Meningioma Mommas Foundation.

Other Johns Hopkins researchers involved in the study include Otavia L. Caballero, M.D., Ph.D.; Brent A. Orr, M.D., Ph.D.; Janelle S. Y. Ho; and Gregory Riggins, M.D., Ph.D.

Stephanie Desmon | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg

nachricht New potential cancer treatment using microwaves to target deep tumors
12.10.2016 | University of Texas at Arlington

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

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...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

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

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>