Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Understanding brain tumor growth opens door for non-surgical treatment

Date:
January 14, 2013
Source:
University of Plymouth
Summary:
Researchers have for the first time identified a new group of growth factor receptors for brain tumors. Understanding how these work could mean that existing drugs could be used as alternative therapy to surgery or radiotherapy for patients with multiple brain tumors.

One in 25,000 people worldwide is affected by neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2), a condition where the loss of a tumour suppressor called Merlin results in multiple tumours in the brain and nervous system.

Related Articles


Sufferers may experience 20 to 30 tumours at any one time and such numbers often lead to hearing loss, disability and eventually death. Currently, the only available effective therapies are repeated invasive surgery or radiotherapy aimed at one tumour at a time and which are unlikely to eradicate all the tumours in one go. NF2 can affect any family, regardless of past history, through gene mutation. There is no cure.

However, a research team from Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry have moved one step nearer a non-surgical therapy, by identifying for the first time a new group of growth factor receptors that signal to brain tumours.

The study, which is published January 14, 2013 in Oncogene, shows that such receptors are over-expressed and activated in certain brain tumours. The study also identifies the mechanism that causes this activity and shows that, by interfering with the activation, tumour cells can be corrected.

Such growth factors are known to play a role in the development of other cancers, but this is the first time that the link has been made to cancer tumours in the brain and nervous system.

The breakthrough is key to the development of non-surgical therapies for NF2: there are drugs already available that target these growth factor receptors in other cancers and the Plymouth research team shows that there is scope for adapting such drugs for the treatment of NF2.

The research was led by Professor C. Oliver Hanemann, Director of the Institute of Translational and Stratified Medicine and Chair of Clinical Neurobiology at Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, and Consultant in Neurology and Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust. He said: "At present the only treatment available to NF2 sufferers is repeated surgery to remove tumours. This is only partially effective, because in some cases tumours are in areas where it is impossible to reach with surgery, and because eradicating a tumour from a part of the brain or nervous system does not mean that another one will not grow in its place. Chemotherapy is not an option, because in most cases NF2 tumours are slow growing -- it is their sheer number that causes risk to the patient.

"Our study in Oncogene offers real hope to patients, because it identifies how the growth of NF2 tumours works and shows that existing drugs could be modified to help stop and even reverse the rate of tumour growth. This is good news for patients for two reasons: it shows that there could be a valid alternative to surgery; and because the answer may be the adaptation of existing drugs, therapies could be developed relatively quickly because the process of clinical trials and drug registration has already taken place. Also the mechanism causing tumours in NF2 is also causing many spontaneous brain cancers and is found in other cancers. So what we found has potential relevance for other cancers."

The study comes hard on the heels of news of funding from the Medical Research Council for a study headed by Professor David Parkinson and Cancer Research UK for the same research team. The funding is being used to investigate why the mechanisms that suppress the growth and multiplication of tumours in the brain and nervous system do not work in some people, and to show how a new drug could be used as an alternative treatment to surgery.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. S Ammoun, L Provenzano, L Zhou, M Barczyk, K Evans, D A Hilton, S Hafizi, C O Hanemann. Axl/Gas6/NFκB signalling in schwannoma pathological proliferation, adhesion and survival. Oncogene, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/onc.2012.587

Cite This Page:

University of Plymouth. "Understanding brain tumor growth opens door for non-surgical treatment." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130114092655.htm>.
University of Plymouth. (2013, January 14). Understanding brain tumor growth opens door for non-surgical treatment. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130114092655.htm
University of Plymouth. "Understanding brain tumor growth opens door for non-surgical treatment." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130114092655.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Misconceptions abound when it comes to your annual flu shot. Medical experts say most people older than 6 months should get the shot. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
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