Brain tumour growth stopped by absence of protein
According to a new study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine, the growth of certain aggressive brain tumours can be halted by cutting off their access to a signalling molecule produced by the brain’s nerve cells.
Findings suggest that interrupting the neuroligin-3 signal could be a helpful strategy for controlling high-grade gliomas in human patients.
Dr Michelle Monje, assistant professor of neurology and senior author of the study, explains that inhibition of neuroligin-3 will not represent a cure for high-grade gliomas since it does not kill the cancer cells. Ultimately, she hopes to combine it with other therapies against the tumours. ¨Given how devastating the tumours are, the possibility of using neuroligin-3 inhibition to slow the tumour progression is a hopeful development.
"We have a really clear path forward for therapy; we are in the process of working with the company that owns the clinically characterised compound in an effort to bring it to a clinical trial for brain tumour patients."
"We will have to attack these tumours from many different angles to cure them," Monje said. But given how devastating the tumours are, the possibility of using neuroligin-3 inhibition to slow tumour progression is a hopeful development, she added. "Any measurable extension of life and improvement of quality of life is a real win for these patients."