First Posted: Sep 21, 2013 10:45 AM EDT
UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have discovered a cellular switch that influences the growth of the commonly diagnosed and aggressive malignant brain tumor.
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The tumor can be switched on and off and its growth restrained with the help of this cellular switch. The researchers found that the RIP1 protein plays a role in destroying or protecting the survival of brain tumor cells. The scientists predict that they can use the protein found in most glioblastomas tumors for creating a drug treatment for such malignancy in the brain.
"Our study identifies a new mechanism involving RIP1that regulates cell division and death in glioblastomas," senior author Dr. Amyn Habib, associate professor of neurology and neurotherapeutics at UT Southwestern, and staff neurologist at VA North Texas Health Care System, stated in a Science Daily report.
"For individuals with glioblastomas, this finding identified a target for the development of a drug treatment option that currently does not exist," Dr.Habib added.
The experimenters utilized animal models in the study for examining the interactions of the RIP1 protein and cell receptor EGFRvIII. Both are used to activate a family of proteins called NFκB, which is crucial for the growth of cancerous tumor cells. The researchers found that when they turned off the RIP1 protein in the experimental model, the NFκB protein and the signaling, which triggers tumor growth reversed too.
Moreover, the researchers also found that activating RIP1 could make the cancer cells enter the death mode themselves.
Around 30 percent of brain tumors are gliomas, a rapidly growing, treatment resistant type of tumor as per to the American Cancer Society. Gliomas include glioblastomas, astrocytomas, ependymomas and oligodendrogliomas.