Targeting Brain Cancer Stem Cells
Date: November 11, 2010
Stem Cells, January 28, 2010
New brain cancer research focuses on a small population of cells called cancer stem cells that are believed to drive the growth and spread of certain cancers. These cells, while small in number, appear to be a major force in cell growth by evading anticancer drugs and perpetually giving rise to the larger number of cancer cells that make up the bulk of tumors.
Now, in mice at least, brain cancer researcher Charles Eberhart, M.D., Ph.D., has used drugs to target and block a chemical pathway, called Notch, known to be important for cancer stem cell growth.
Eberhart and team used cells from glioblastomas, the most common brain cancer, to form neurospheres, clumps of cells that can only develop from stem cells. After treating the spheres with a drug that blocks the Notch pathway, more than 70 percent went away.
However, when the remaining neurospheres where placed into mice, the Notch pathway was reactivated and the stem cell-driven neurospheres eventually grew into small tumors.
“This tells us that while the Notch pathway looks like a good target for drug development, the drug we tested did not get rid of all of the cancer stem cells,” says Eberhart. “It’s likely that we will need to add additional drugs or increase the dosage of the Notch-blocking drug.”
Eberhart and team also uncovered two additional pathways connected to Notch and believe combined therapies that target all three pathways could allow them to better target brain cancer stem cells and help keep the cancer from becoming resistant to therapy.
The research was funded by the Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure Project Award, the American Brain Tumor Association, Voices Against Brain Cancer Research, the National Institutes of Health, and the Brain Tumor Funders Collaborative.
Articles in this Issue
Cover Story: Personalized Medicine is Here, The Time is Now
- Personalized Medicine is Here: The Time is Now
- Cover Story Sidebar: Our Cancer Reasearch is Curing Other Diseases Too
- Cover Story Sidebar: A New Paradigm for Cancer Drug Discovery
- Cover Story Sidebar: Personalized Approaches in Pediatric Cancer
- Cover Story Sidebar: The Frankenstein Project
- Cover Story Sidebar: The Serendipitous Discovery of a Cancer Starter
- Cover Story Sidebar: The Mathematics of Curing Cancer
- Immune Cell Commander
- A Personalized Genetic Profile for Brain Cancer
- A New "Twist" in Breast Cancer
- JHU Engineering Student Invents Melanoma Screening Device
- Special Delivery: Biodegradable Particles Transport Drugs to Diseased Tissues and Organs
- Targeting Brain Cancer Stem Cells
- Vaccine Clears Out Leukemia Cells
- Does Low Cholesterol Equal Lower Risk of High-Grade Prostate Cancer?
- A Common Good - The Commonwealth Foundation
- Helping Us Solve The Cancer Puzzle
- The Skip Viragh Center
- Making Waves to Fight Cancer
- Gift Brings Complementary Care to Cancer Patients
- A Major Gift for Kidney Cancer Research
- Giant Food Supports Childhood Cancer Research
- Wawa Cares About Cancer Patients
- Young Lacrosse Players Faced Off Against Childhood Cancer