A new family of genes have been identified which are shown to be responsible for the growth of tumors in a wide spectrum of high-grade brain cancers.
The study, published in the journal Cell Reports , could lead to new therapies to treat aggressive brain tumors.
"With these new genetic findings, our researchers plan to develop targeted therapeutics that we hope will one day be used treat patients with high grade brain tumors and increase their survival," said Joshua Breunig, lead author and research scientist at the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute in the US.
High grade brain tumors, known as gliomas, are difficult to treat and most patients treated for primary gliomas develop into secondary gliomas, which are almost always fatal.
"Any given tumor can harbor a variety of different combinations of mutations," said Moise Danielpour one of the study authors from Maxine Dunitz Children's Health Center.
"Despite advances in radiation and chemotherapy, there are currently no effective curative regimens for treatment for these diverse tumors," Danielpour said.
The 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, they identified the Ets (E26 transformation-specific) 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, and when expression of the Ets genes is blocked, researchers may be able to identify and strategize novel treatment therapies.