Nav: Home

A breakthrough for understanding GBM: Origin cells for deadly brain tumors identified

August 01, 2018

A new study by KAIST researchers identified where the mutation causing glioblastoma starts. According to the study, neural stem cells away from the tumor mass are the cells of origin that contain mutation drivers for glioblastoma, one of the most aggressive brain tumor. This breakthrough research, reported in Nature on August 1, gives insights for understanding why glioblastomas almost always grow back, even after surgery, and suggests novel ways to treat glioblastoma, which was previously thought to be incurable.

Like most cancers, glioblastoma is treated with surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible, then radiation and chemotherapy. However, it almost always returns in less than a year and its median survival time is only 15 months. Precision therapeutic approaches targeting tumors themselves didn't lead to any breakthroughs.

Professor Jeong Ho Lee's team at the Graduate School of Medical Scicence and Engineering described direct genetic evidence through the deep sequencing of all triple-matched samples: normal SVZ tissue away from the tumor mass, tumor tissue, and normal cortical tissue. The research team studied 28 patients with glioblastomas and other types of brain tumors who underwent supra-total resection or other surgical resections of tumors, providing access to normal subventricular zone (SVZ) tissue (where neural stem cells are located) away from the tumor mass. The researchers used various deep and single cell sequencing technologies to conduct comparative DNA analysis on the samples from the patient's SVZ tissue and tumors.

They reported that normal SVZ tissue away from the tumor in 56.3% of patients with glioblastoma already contained low-level glioblastoma driver mutations that were observed at high levels in their matching tumors. Furthermore, the research team generated a genome edited mouse carrying glioblastoma mutations in the SVZ and showed that neural stem cells with mutations migrate from the SVZ lead to the development of glioblastomas in distant brain regions.

Professor Lee conducted this study in collaboration with Professor Seok-Gu Kang of the Brain Tumor Center at Severance Hospital of Yonsei University. He said, "It's easier to understand when we compare it to fireworks. Every flare flying around sky can be likened to cancer cells even though the fireworks are triggered on the ground. We found the trigger." The identification of this mutation pathway of glioblastomas will lead to a new paradigm for therapeutic strategies. He added, "Now, we can focus on interrupting the recurrence and evolution of glioblastomas."

Professor Lee has investigated mutations arising in the brain for a decade. He is developing innovative diagnostics and therapeutics for untreatable brain disorders including intractable epilepsy and glioblastoma at a tech-startup, SoVarGen. "All technologies we used during the research were transferred to the company. This research gave us very good momentum to reach the next phase of our startup," he remarked.
-end-


The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)

Related Glioblastoma Articles:

Brain cancer discovery reveals clues in quest for new therapies
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have pinpointed two key molecules that drive the growth of an aggressive type of adult brain cancer.
Immunotherapy for glioblastoma well tolerated; survival gains observed
A phase one study of 11 patients with glioblastoma who received injections of an investigational vaccine therapy and an approved chemotherapy showed the combination to be well tolerated while also resulting in unexpectedly significant survival increases, researchers at the Duke Cancer Institute report.
Glioblastoma patients may benefit from a vaccine-chemotherapy combination
A vaccine targeting cytomegalovirus (CMV) antigen pp65, combined with high-dose chemotherapy (temozolomide), improved both progression-free survival and overall survival for a small group of glioblastoma (GBM) patients.
Case comprehensive cancer center analyzes brain tumor data, doubles known risk factors for glioma
A massive new study involving blood samples from over 30,000 individuals has identified 13 new genetic risk factors for glioma, the most common type of malignant brain tumor in adults.
Glioblastoma clinical trial shows combined therapy extends life for patients 65 and older
Treating older patients who have malignant brain cancer with the chemotherapy drug temozolomide plus a short course of radiation therapy extends survival by two months compared to treating with radiation alone, show clinical trial results published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Revolutionary approach for treating glioblastoma works with human cells
UNC-Chapel Hill researchers describe how human stem cells, made from human skin cells, can hunt down and kill human brain cancer, a critical and monumental step toward clinical trials -- and real treatment.
Researchers discover potential new target for treating glioblastoma
Scientists have found a way to inhibit the growth of glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer with low survival rates, by targeting a protein that drives growth of brain tumors, according to research from the Peter O'Donnell Jr.
Cell of origin affects malignancy and drug sensitivity of brain tumors
Patients with glioblastoma have very poor prognosis since there are no effective therapies.
A new prognostic classification may help clinical decision-making in glioblastoma
New research shows that taking molecular variables into account will improve the prognostic classification of the lethal brain cancer called glioblastoma (GBM).
Inhibiting a DNA-repairing protein in brain could be key to treating aggressive tumors
Researchers at the University of Leeds found that inhibiting this protein, called RAD51, helped increase the effectiveness of radiotherapy in killing off glioblastoma cells in the lab.

Related Glioblastoma Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#SB2 2019 Science Birthday Minisode: Mary Golda Ross
Our second annual Science Birthday is here, and this year we celebrate the wonderful Mary Golda Ross, born 9 August 1908. She died in 2008 at age 99, but left a lasting mark on the science of rocketry and space exploration as an early woman in engineering, and one of the first Native Americans in engineering. Join Rachelle and Bethany for this very special birthday minisode celebrating Mary and her achievements. Thanks to our Patreons who make this show possible! Read more about Mary G. Ross: Interview with Mary Ross on Lash Publications International, by Laurel Sheppard Meet Mary Golda...