Researchers from MIT have recently identified a new way to stop the growth of glioblastoma brain tumors, bringing renewed hope in treatment options for this rare life-threatening cancer.
Glioblastoma is a particular type of brain cancer that develops from star-shaped “astrocyte” cells. It is the malignant and the deadliest form of brain cancer, even with radiation and chemotherapy treatment, so new and more effective therapy options are desperately needed; these recent findings have strong potential to help achieve this goal.
Specifically, the scientists behind this study found the mechanism that drives the growth of glioblastoma tumors: the protein PRMT5. PRMT5 is involved with a special type of “gene splicing,” which fuels glioblastoma growth.
Stem cells in the brain have increased PRMT5 levels, but as they mature, PRMT5 levels usually drop. In cancerous cells, however, they are heightened once again. This in turn re-activates the process of gene splicing, encouraging cancer cells to uncontrollably grow.
Once scientists made this discovery, they were then able to halt the growth of the glioblastoma tumors in mice models using current PRMT5 inhibitors. Their success suggests that PRMT5 can be used as a biomarker to determine patients that respond to this kind of treatment.
Thus, not only did this study bring to light one of the underlying biological mechanisms behind glioblastoma, but it also opened a door to potential new treatment and prevention for the future.
Time will reveal the extent that this research will help the glioblastoma community, but in the meantime, if you want to learn more about this promising new study, click here!