Experimental therapy stops glioblastoma, high grade gliomas in human cells and mouse models

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May 19, 2016

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.

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