Blocked enzyme can stop growth in brain tumour cells

2017-08-30

By blocking of an enzyme that affects the cellular microenvironment it is possible to stop brain tumour cells from growing. This is shown in a new study by Karin Forsberg Nilsson’s research group at IGP, in collaboration with researchers in Haifa, Israel and Brisbane, Australia.

Brain tumours constitute 25 % of all childhood cancers. Among those are malignant forms such as medulloblastoma, a cancer of the cerebellum. Today, more than half of the medulloblastoma patients can be cured, but there is a need for new treatments.

The study focuses on proteoglycans, a group of molecules that are commonly found in the brain, and that consists of proteins with one or several attached carbohydrate chains. The enzyme that degrades these chains is called heparanase, and the researchers found that medulloblastoma cells, as well as cells from other childhood brain tumours, need this enzyme, which may suggest new ways to treat the tumour.

More information:
Research news, Uppsala University
Karin Forsberg Nilsson’s research
Article in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics