An experimental therapy is showing the ability to stop aggressive, treatment-resistant and deadly brain cancers in laboratory tests and mouse models.
A team led by researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center published their results on May 9, 2016.
The scientists found a way to use a gene therapy to shut down a gene long-implicated in the formation of high-grade gliomas called Olig2.
The protein encoded by Olig2 is expressed in the majority of gliomas. Removing the Olig2 gene halts tumor growth while elimination of Olig2-producing cells blocks tumor formation.
The current study may apply to high-grade brain gliomas and a fatal brainstem tumor called Diffused Intrinsic Pontine Glioma. Even if these cancers do initially respond to a specific targeted treatment, they adapt by finding genetic/molecular workarounds, evade treatment and continue growing.
Researchers caution the experimental therapeutic approach they describe requires extensive additional research and remains years away from possible clinical testing. The study finds a potential chink in the molecular armor of stubborn cancers that – even after initial round of successful treatment – almost always relapse.
Click here to read the full news.