Scientists from the National Research Institute (University of Quebec division) have found a mechanism that contributes to the progression of medulloblastoma, the most common brain tumor in children. This involved a team led by Frédéric Charron. The findings are published in the issue of the scientific journal «Developmental Cell» of October 13.
A protein known as "Sonic Hedgehog» (Sonic Hedgehog) causes DNA damage that leads to cancer. He belongs to a family of proteins that provide information to the cells as well the developing embryo. He also plays an important role in carcinogenesis, a process that transforms normal cells into malignant ones.
According to Lucas Tamayo-Orrego (Lukas Tamayo-Orrego), a graduate student in the laboratory of Dr. Sharron and one of the co-authors of the study, the team studied a protein Bok (Mtd), which is a receptor located on the cell surface and to identify Sonic Hedgehog. Earlier, it was confirmed that the Bok important for the development of the cerebellum, a part of the brain where there is a medulloblastoma, so it was decided to continue to examine its role.
This study found that a protein Bok necessary to Sonic Hedgehog provoked damage DNA. Bok causes mutations in DNA of tumor cells, which promotes transformation of precancerous lesions in medulloblastoma.
According to Frederick Millay, Ph.D., one of the co-authors of the article, a former researcher Dr. Charron, research work has shown that the inactivation of the Bok number of tumors decreased by 66%. Consequently, it suppresses the transformation of early tumor spread in medulloblastoma.
Medulloblastoma is one of the leading causes of loss of life of children from cancer. Current treatments of brain tumors include surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Although most children tolerate treatment, damage to normal brain cells in infants and toddlers from radiation therapy causes serious damage to health.
As a result, many children who have passed these procedures suffer from serious side effects, including cognitive disorders. According to the study, the protein Bok can be the starting point for the development of a new therapeutic approach, which would allow to stop the growth and progression of medulloblastoma, and reduce the adverse side effects of current treatments.
Based on materials sciencedaily.com