Key mechanism identified in brain tumor growth

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April 28, 2016

Glioblastoma is the most aggressive type of brain tumor in adults. Unfortunately, there are no effective treatments for the disease.

A gene known as OSMR plays a key role in driving the growth of glioblastoma tumors, according to a new study led by a McGill University researcher and published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

Researchers discovered that the OSMR gene was very active in glioblastoma cells and they found that the more active this gene was, the shorter the patient's life span.

The research team studied human brain tumor stem cells taken from glioblastoma patients. The cells are normally able to proliferate and form new tumors when injected into laboratory mice, but the researchers found that when they knock down the gene for OSMR in glioblastoma cells and inject these cells in mice, they lose their ability to form tumors. "It means that this protein is a key piece of the puzzle," says Michael Rudnicki, senior co-corresponding author of the study.

One of the researchers and authors of the study is Keith Ligon, M.D., PhD. at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He currently serves as an American Brain Tumor Associaiton Scientific Advisory Council member.

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