Treatment of malignant brain tumor in children gets closer

malignant brain tumour
Picture: University of Copenhage

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have identified important mechanisms underlying how a special type of malignant brain tumor arises in children. Not only do these discoveries give researchers important information about the tumor but they could also result in possible treatment.

DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma) is a rare malignant cerebral tumor in children. It has only a 1% 5-year survival rate, amongst other things because it is not possible to operate because the tumor is located in the brain stem. Danish researchers have now just published a study in an international journal, Nature Medicine, in which they have investigated the molecular mechanisms that could be the reason why the malignant tumor arises and develops.

”DIPG is a terrible disease with very poor survival. Before we can identify a treatment, we need to understand the mechanisms underlying the formation and growth of the tumor. We have now made a major step forward and we also have ideas for possible treatment,” says Prof. Kristian Helin, Director of the Biotech Research and Innovation Center.

DIPG tumors are a type of cancer in which there are mutations in the so-called histone proteins. One of these is the H3K27M protein that could be the cause of the malignant brain tumor. In order to identify the specific mechanisms, researchers created a special mouse model based on the same genetic changes found in the brain tumor. This enabled them to gain a general understanding of the behaviour of the tumor and also to test possible treatments.

Source: University of Copenhagen

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