Human brain tumor cells erased in mice

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have discovered a way to halt the growth of, and then erase, human brain tumor cells that were transferred to mice. In a study published in the journal Oncotarget, the scientists explained that they achieved this surprising result by repurposing a drug approved by the FDA to treat a pre-condition of leukemia.

The gene mutation occurs in the IDHI gene, which was first identified in human brain tumors called gliomas. This mutation was found in 70 to 80 percent in lower-grade and progressive forms of this brain tumor. The mutation causes the IDHI gene - which regulates cell metabolism - to produce a flawed enzyme, which then produces large amounts of an entirely new molecule. And that causes a group of atoms to latch onto the DNA strand. When too many latch on, it can lead to cancer. The drug the researchers decided to use is able to strip those groups of atoms from the DNA strand, which appeared to reverse the cancer process.

For the study, researchers took cells from human glioma tumors and injected them under the skin of mice. Once the tumors grew, the researchers injected them with the drug for 14 weeks and saw a dramatic reduction in tumor growth, and then what appeared to be a complete regression. They stopped the therapy and, after seven weeks, the tumors had still not regrown.

The researchers noted, however, that it is common for therapies to work in mice, but not in humans.

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Sourced from: Science Daily, Human Brain Tumor Cells Erased in Mice