Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Promising therapeutic target for hard-to-treat brain tumor

Date:
August 27, 2013
Source:
Johns Hopkins Medicine
Summary:
Researchers say they have found a specific protein in nearly 100 percent of high-grade meningiomas — the most common form of brain tumor — suggesting a new target for therapies for a cancer that does not respond to current chemotherapy.

The brown stain shows the presence of the protein NY-ESO-1 in this human meningioma sample. Nuclei are stained in purple.
Credit: Gilson Baia

Johns Hopkins researchers say they have found a specific protein in nearly 100 percent of high-grade meningiomas -- the most common form of brain tumor -- suggesting a new target for therapies for a cancer that does not respond to current chemotherapy.

Importantly, the investigators say, the protein -- NY-ESO-1 -- is already at the center of a clinical trial underway at the National Cancer Institute. That trial is designed to activate the immune systems of patients with other types of tumors that express the protein, training the body to attack the cancer and eradicate it.

"Typically there is a lag time before a laboratory finding like this leads to a clear path forward to help patients. But in this case, since there is already a clinical trial underway, we have a chance of helping people sooner rather than later," says Gregory J. Riggins, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the senior author of the study published online in the journal Cancer Immunology Research.

In the NCI trial, NY-ESO-1 is found in a much smaller percentage of tumors than Riggins and his team found in high-grade meningioma, suggesting that for the brain cancer, the target would be potentially more significant.

Most low-grade meningiomas located in easy-to-reach locations can be treated successfully with surgery and radiation. But more atypical, higher-grade tumors are much more difficult to eradicate and are deadlier.

Riggins and his colleagues, including Gilson S. Baia, Ph.D., and Otavia L. Caballero, M.D., Ph.D., set out to find cancer antigens in meningioma. Cancer antigens are proteins expressed in tumors but not in healthy cells, making them good targets for chemical or immune system attack. They looked specifically at 37 cancer/testis (CT) genes, which are not found in normal cells in the body except in germ cells and cells cordoned off in the testicles or, in some cases, ovaries.

CT genes are activated, however, in various cancers. While they are seen as "foreign" by the body's immune system, they are often locked behind the sophisticated defense system that cancers use to evade attack by immune cells. Finding a way to get the immune system to see these protein antigens, however, could allow for the body to recognize the invasion and go after the cancer cells. Various approaches are being used to do that, including vaccines and a system involving removing T-cells from the body and reprogramming them before returning them and setting them loose on the cancer cells.

The Johns Hopkins researchers took tissue from 18 different meningioma samples, removed the genetic material and protein and checked at what levels the 37 different genes were turned on. The gene that is the blueprint for the NY-ESO-1 protein was turned on more frequently than any other, in five of the 18 patient samples.

Then they analyzed NY-ESO-1 expression in a larger group of 110 meningioma tissue samples. They found NY-ESO-1 in 108 of them. The more expression in the sample, they also determined, the higher the tumor grade. The higher levels of NY-ESO-1 expressed also correlated with significantly lower disease-free and overall survival rates in the patients they came from.

The NCI trial originally began in melanoma patients. NY-ESO-1 is expressed in roughly one-third of melanomas as well as approximately one-third of breast, prostate, lung, ovarian, thyroid and bladder cancers, as well as sarcomas. Riggins and his team did not find the protein in glioblastoma, the deadliest form of brain cancer.

He calls the fact that the NCI trial could now include meningioma patients a "stroke of luck."

"If that therapy did not exist, there would be a lot of work that would have to be done to convince people to pursue this," Riggins says. "Our goal is to get something that works to the patients. This puts us well on our way."

Other Johns Hopkins researchers involved in the study include Qi Zhao, Ph.D.; Zev A. Binder, M.D.; Gary L. Gallia, M.D.; Alfredo Quiρones-Hinojosa, M.D.; Alessandro Olivi, M.D.; Henry Brem, M.D.; Peter Burger, M.D.; Robert L. Strausberg, Ph.D.; and Charles Eberhart, M.D., Ph.D.

The research was funded by the Virginia and D. K. Ludwig Fund for Cancer Research, the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Meningioma Mommas, Margaret H. Riggins, Leonard and Phyllis Attman, and the Irving J. Sherman Research Professorship.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. G. S. Baia, O. L. Caballero, J. S. Y. Ho, Q. Zhao, T. Cohen, Z. A. Binder, V. Salmasi, G. L. Gallia, A. Quinones-Hinojosa, A. Olivi, H. Brem, P. Burger, R. L. Strausberg, A. J. G. Simpson, C. G. Eberhart, G. J. Riggins. NY-ESO-1 expression in meningioma suggests a rationale for new immunotherapeutic approaches. Cancer Immunology Research, 2013; DOI: 10.1158/2326-6066.CIR-13-0029

Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins Medicine. "Promising therapeutic target for hard-to-treat brain tumor." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130827122716.htm>.
Johns Hopkins Medicine. (2013, August 27). Promising therapeutic target for hard-to-treat brain tumor. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130827122716.htm
Johns Hopkins Medicine. "Promising therapeutic target for hard-to-treat brain tumor." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130827122716.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) — West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) — A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Reuters - US Online Video (July 28, 2014) — Two American aid workers in Liberia test positive for Ebola while working to combat the deadliest outbreak of the virus ever. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) — Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) 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