Friday, November 22, 2013

Common Genetic Pathway Could be Conduit to Pediatric Tumor Treatment

News Brief by Catie Donlon

In the United States, about 4,000 children have brain tumors. The current treatments for these children include surgery and chemotherapy, which often cause negative side effects. However, research at Johns Hopkins suggests that there may be a new way to treat low-grade gliomas because of a newly discovered, active genetic pathway.

Low-grade gliomas are the most common pediatric brain tumors, and researchers have found that these tumors have a highly active protein pathway, called the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). This mTOR pathway essentially helps the tumor survive and grow in the brain. However, when a drug affects the rapamycin protein, the rest of the mTOR pathway is inhibited, resulting in significantly less growth of the tumor.

Johns Hopkins studied 177 samples of low-grade gliomas and the effect of MK8669 (ridaforolimus), a drug that blocks mTOR. Through their studies, they discovered that the mTOR pathways were active over 80 percent of the time. When the low-grade glioma cells were introduced to the MK8669 drug, there was a 73 percent decrease in cell growth in 6 days in one cell line, and a 21 percent decrease in 4 days in the second cell line. This data suggests that drugs that inhibit the mTOR pathway could greatly reduce the size and effect of tumors. Yet because most of the mTOR pathways were found in the optic pathways of the brain, drug outcomes could greatly vary in tumors located in different areas. Research on other inhibiting drugs that affect the mTOR pathway will continue in animal models, in hopes to discover drugs that could become new, effective treatment options for pediatric tumors.

Reference:  Common Genetic Pathway Could Be Conduit to Pediatric Tumor Treatment - 11/06/2013. (2013, November 6). Common Genetic Pathway Could Be Conduit to Pediatric Tumor Treatment - 11/06/2013. Retrieved November 20, 2013, from
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