A new weapon in the fight against children’s brain tumors

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March 4, 2016

Researchers from the University of Michigan identified DNA-damaging cancer drugs could help fight aggressive pediatric brain tumors, in a recent study conducted on a novel brain tumor model in mice. “It’s the first animal model of pediatric high-grade gliomas, or malignant brain tumors,” says Maria Castro, Ph.D., senior author of the paper and a professor in the departments of Neurosurgery and Cell and Developmental Biology at U-M. “The mice carry the genetic mutations found in human tumors and develop tumors [in a way] that closely resembles what children and adolescents do.”

About one-third of children and young adults with brain cancer have mutations of ATRX in their cancer cells - a protein that normally helps cells repair damage to DNA. When ATRX is mutated, the protein is depleted, which then accelerates tumor growth. Using these brain mouse models, researchers identified that DNA-damaging cancer drugs may shrink brain tumors in children more effectively and improve their survival.

To read more about the study, click here