Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Brain cancer: Study focuses on forgotten cells

Date:
April 20, 2010
Source:
University of Bonn
Summary:
Glioblastoma can often be removed surgically, but the brain tumor often reappears, because some tumor cells remain in the brain. Researchers have now subjected these "forgotten" cells to closer scrutiny for the first time. They found out that many of their fundamental properties were substantially different from the cells in the midst of the tumor mass. This possibly explains, why radiation or chemotherapy cannot entirely prevent the disease to reoccur.

Glioblastoma is a guileful enemy. While most of the brain tumor can often be removed surgically, in virtually every case the tumor reappears. One reason for this is that sporadic, infiltrative tumor cells will remain in the brain even after most careful surgery. Researchers at the University of Bonn have now subjected these 'forgotten' cells to closer scrutiny for the first time. While doing this, they were able to show that many of the fundamental properties of these tumor cells were substantially different from the cells in the midst of the tumor mass.

Related Articles


The findings could offer an opportunity to explain why radiation or chemotherapy cannot entirely prevent this deadly disease to reoccur. The study was recently published in the Annals of Neurology.

Patients with a glioblastoma generally undergo surgery as quickly as possible. During the process, starting from the center of the tumor, the neurosurgeon gently removes diseased tissue until the tumor appears to be removed entirely. Unfortunately, the cancer cells are hard to get hold of. They often migrate far into adjacent, healthy brain tissue. That is why there are basically always some malignant cells remaining after every surgery, from which then new tumors are formed.

The Bonn scientists have now taken a closer look at these residual cells for the first time.

Apart from being provided with samples from the main mass of the tumor for their research, the scientists were also provided with small diagnostic samples from adjacent tissue from 33 patients by the University of Bonn Department of Neurosurgery. 'From the small samples we then extracted and enriched the few tumor cells that would have normally remained in the patient.' Professor Björn Scheffler from the Institute of Reconstructive Neurobiology explains.

Astonishing discovery

While examining these residual cells, the researchers made an astonishing discovery. 'The cancer cells in the vicinity of the tumor have different properties compared to those from the center of the tumor,' Björn Scheffler's colleague Dr. Martin Glas from the Department of Neurology's Clinical Neurooncology Unit explains. 'For instance, they are more mobile, they form other receptors, they react differently to radiation therapy or chemotherapeutic substances.'

These findings may offer an intriguing explanation for the yet meager therapeutic success against the most frequent malignant brain cancer. Although there has been intensive research on this case for more than half a century, a cure is currently not available. On average, glioblastoma patients survive for only about 15 months from the time of initial diagnosis. Although radiation and chemotherapy both are aimed for complete destruction of residual tumor cells after surgery, these weapons apparently remain blunt. There is no other way of explaining that basically every glioblastoma patient will experience a relapse.

The new results could help medicine to upgrade its weapons arsenal against the remaining cancer cells. Up to now, therapies were only tested on the extracted tumor tissue. But even if medication could destroy the actual tumor, this does not have to be true for the malignant residual cells. 'At least, it is worth keeping an eye on this aspect,' Martin Glas and Björn Scheffler say. But at the same time they warn against exaggerated hopes. 'We still have a lot of work to do. For new approaches to therapy we first need to understand the biology of these cells even better.'

This research was funded by the Volkswagen Foundation (Volkswagenstiftung) and the BONFOR Program of the Bonn Faculty of Medicine.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Glas et al. Residual tumor cells are unique cellular targets in glioblastoma. Annals of Neurology, 2010; DOI: 10.1002/ana.22036

Cite This Page:

University of Bonn. "Brain cancer: Study focuses on forgotten cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100413095858.htm>.
University of Bonn. (2010, April 20). Brain cancer: Study focuses on forgotten cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100413095858.htm
University of Bonn. "Brain cancer: Study focuses on forgotten cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100413095858.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) — It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) — More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) — In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) — A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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