View Full Version : Cancer Cure Update: Protein Disrupts Brain Tumor Stem Cells, Stops Spread Of Disease

06-14-2015, 01:40 PM
Steve Pak | Jun 13, 2015


Brain tumor regrowth often occurs after they have undergone treatment such as chemotherapy. In their search for a cancer cure, researchers have discovered that using a particular protein to stop the regeneration of brain tumor stem cells stopped the spread of the disease.

Washington University School of Medicine is located in St. Louis, Missouri. Researchers there learned that when they disrupted the regrowth of cancer stem cells, the spread of cancer was also disrupted.

Dr. Albert Kim, the senior author of the study, said that the discovery could help attack the root cause of some of the most dangerous brain tumors. An effective brain cancer treatment will probably require stopping cancer tumor regrowth of the stem cells.

Glioblastoma, or "grow and go" tumors, is one of the deadliest types of brain cancer, according to Medical News Today. About 18,000 people in the United States acquire it yearly. The average survival time after diagnosis is 15 months, and just 30 percent of patients live over 2 years.

While surgeons usually treat glioblastomas by removing the brain tumor, removing large ones risks harming the brain function. They are also resistant to radiation and chemo treatments, and much better at rebooting cancer after treatments, according to Newswise.

However, the Achilles heel of the tumors' stem cells is their need for the protein SOX2. It is also found in healthy stem cells throughout the human body.

The researchers learned that decreasing the protein CDC20 had the same effect on the tumor stem cells' level of SOX2. Researchers then transplanted the cancer stem cells into mice.

Dr. Kim explained that the CDC20 rate of growth of some tumors skydived 95 percent. This was compared with regular levels of CDC20.

Researchers discovered something critical about glioblastomas patients. Those with the highest CDC20 levels had the shortest survival period after receiving a cancer diagnosis.

Now the researchers are studying methods for blocking the CDC20 protein in brain tumors. One is "RNA interference," which involves blocking proteins to treat cancer symptoms such as brain tumor regrowth.

The researchers' findings were recently published in Cell Reports.