After generating new brain tumor models, researchers identified the role of a family of genes underlying tumor growth in a wide spectrum of high grade brain tumors. The findings, published in the journal Cell Reports, could help develop targeted therapeutics that one day can be used to treat and increase survival of patients with high grade brain tumors.
High grade brain tumors, known as gliomas, are difficult to treat with only a single digit five-year survival rate. Most patients treated for primary gliomas develop into secondary gliomas, which are almost always fatal.
Researchers first modeled high grade brain tumors from resident stem cells inside the brain, using a cutting edge method of rapid modeling that can create up to five distinct tumor models within 45 minutes.
After effectively modeling high grade brain tumors, researchers identified the Ets family of genes as contributors to glioma brain tumors. These Ets factors function to regulate the behavior of tumor cells by controlling expression of genes necessary for tumor growth and cell fate. When expression of the Ets genes is blocked, researchers can identify and strategize novel treatment therapies.
"The ability to rapidly model unique combinations of driver mutations from a patient's tumor enhances our quest to create patient-specific animal models of human brain tumors," the researchers added.
Immediate next steps involve testing the function of each individual Ets factor to determine their specific role in tumor progression and recurrence after treatment.
Based on material originally posted by Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.