Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Brain tumor cells made more responsive to radiation

Date:
December 3, 2009
Source:
Duke University Medical Center
Summary:
Researchers have figured out how stem cells in the malignant brain cancer glioma may be better able to resist radiation therapy. And using a drug to block a particular signaling pathway in these cancer stem cells, they were able to kill many more glioma cells with radiation in a laboratory experiment.

Duke University Medical Center researchers have figured out how stem cells in the malignant brain cancer glioma may be better able to resist radiation therapy. And using a drug to block a particular signaling pathway in these cancer stem cells, they were able to kill many more glioma cells with radiation in a laboratory experiment.

The work builds off earlier research which showed that cancer stem cells resist the effects of radiation much better than other cancer cells.

The Duke team identified a known signaling pathway called Notch as the probable reason for the improved resistance. Notch also operates in normal stem cells, where it is important for cell-cell communication that controls cell growth and differentiation processes. The study was published in late November by Stem Cells journal.

"This is the first report that Notch signaling in tumor tissue is related to the failure of radiation treatments," said lead author Jialiang Wang, Ph.D., a research associate in the Duke Division of Surgery Sciences and the Duke Translational Research Institute. "This makes the Notch pathway an attractive drug target. The right drug may be able to stop the real bad guys, the glioma stem cells."

Stem cells in a cancer are the source of cancer cell proliferation, Wang said. Hundreds of cancer stem cells can quickly become a million tumor cells.

The Duke researchers, in collaboration with a team led by Dr. Jeremy Rich at Cleveland Clinic, used drugs called gamma-secretase inhibitors that target a key enzyme involved in Notch signaling pathway on gliomas in a lab dish. These inhibitors are being studied by other researchers for their ability to fight tumors in which Notch is abnormally activated, such as leukemia, breast and brain tumors.

"In our study, gamma-secretase inhibitors alone only moderately slowed down tumor cell growth," said senior author Dr. Bruce Sullenger, Duke Vice Chair for Research and Joseph W. and Dorothy W. Beard Professor of Surgery. "But when we looked at these molecules combined with radiation at clinically relevant doses, the combination caused massive cell death in the tumors and significantly reduced survival of glioma stem cells. These findings often correlate with better tumor control."

Wang said ongoing clinical trials are testing gamma-secretase inhibitors as stand-alone therapy for breast and brain tumors. "Our study suggests that Notch inhibition using these drugs would provide significant therapeutic benefits if combined with radiotherapy, and I hope that future research will study this combination therapy in this vulnerable patient population," Wang said. "More effective radiation may be attainable if we can stop Notch signaling in the tumor stem cells."

Other authors include Timothy P. Wakeman and Xiao-Fan Wang of the Duke Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology; Rebekah R. White of the Duke Department of Surgery and the Duke Translational Research Institute; and Justin D. Lathia and Anita B. Hjelmeland of the Department of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at Cleveland Clinic, and Jeremy Rich, Dr. Wang's mentor who was at Duke and now heads that department at the Cleveland Clinic.

The research was supported by a Basic Research Fellowship from the American Brain Tumor Association, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Early Career Award, NIH grants, the Childhood Brain Tumor Foundation, the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation of the United States, Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure, the Alexander and Margaret Stewart Trust, Brain Tumor Society, the Goldhirsh Foundation, the Sidney Kimmel Foundation, and the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Duke University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Duke University Medical Center. "Brain tumor cells made more responsive to radiation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091202131633.htm>.
Duke University Medical Center. (2009, December 3). Brain tumor cells made more responsive to radiation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091202131633.htm
Duke University Medical Center. "Brain tumor cells made more responsive to radiation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091202131633.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins