Studying “Triple Threat” Protein Could Lead to New Brain Cancer Treatments

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April 17, 2017

Professor at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP), William Stallcup, PhD, published an overview about a protein that plays an important role in glioma, called NG2. Gliomas represent 24.7% of all primary brain tumors and 74.6% of all malignant brain tumors. 55.4% of all glioma are glioblastoma (GBM), a malignant cancer that has an average survival time of 15 months.

NG2 is a protein on the cell surface that has a lot of sugars attached to it. This enhances signaling that affects three cell types within a tumor. With NG2, tumor cells more easily multiple and spread throughout the brain. NG2 also helps to grow the cells that form new blood vessels that provide oxygen and nutrients to the growing tumor and, it converts immune cells into the tumor’s support system.

Continued studies to try and understand this protein will help expand researcher’s knowledge of how brain tumors start and grow. The hope is with continued discoveries, this will help to create better treatments for gliomas.

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