Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Genomics
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Brain Tumor Invasion Along Blood Vessels May Lead to New Cancer Treatments

Published: Thursday, July 10, 2014
Last Updated: Thursday, July 10, 2014
Bookmark and Share
NIH-funded researchers find brain tumor cells disrupt the brain’s protective barrier, offering potential avenues for therapy.

Invading glioblastoma cells may hijack cerebral blood vessels during early stages of disease progression and damage the brain’s protective barrier, a study in mice indicates. This finding could ultimately lead to new ways to bring about the death of the tumor, as therapies may be able to reach these deadly cells at an earlier time point than was previously thought possible.

This research, published in Nature Communications, was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health.

Glioblastoma, a type of aggressive brain tumor, is one of the most devastating forms of cancer. These tumors spread quickly and are difficult to treat because the brain protects itself from foreign substances.

The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is designed to stand in the way of harmful materials leaking into the brain and to regulate the transport of important molecules back and forth between the brain and the blood. One component of the BBB is close-fitting connections (called tight junctions) that form seals between the blood vessel’s endothelial cells. There are several other types of cells that cover the blood vessel, including specialized brain cells known as astrocytes, which have extensive projections, called endfeet, that cover 90 percent of the blood vessel surface.

The astrocytic endfeet release molecules that regulate the tight junctions between the endothelial cells. They also release specific chemicals that cause blood vessels to expand or contract, thereby regulating blood flow in the brain. As a whole, the BBB can be viewed as a smart protective wrapping that separates the blood from the brain.

Harald Sontheimer, Ph.D., from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and his colleagues investigated the interactions between glioblastoma cells, astrocytes and cerebral blood vessels. They used mouse models of glioblastoma, fluorescent dyes and a variety of imaging techniques to see how tumor cells migrate through the brain and interact with other cells and blood vessels.

In the current study, Dr. Sontheimer’s team showed that almost all of the glioblastoma cells outside the main tumor mass were located in the space between the astrocytic endfeet and the blood vessel outer surface. By using the meshwork of small blood vessels as a scaffold, glioblastoma cells were able to migrate along the vessels and extract nutrients from the blood for themselves.

“The vast majority of tumor cells are associated with blood vessels. These cells appear to be using the vessels as highways to travel great distances within the brain,” said Dr. Sontheimer.

In addition, the findings revealed the glioblastoma cells hijacked control over the blood flow by taking it away from the astrocytes. As a result, tight junctions became loose, which led to a breakdown in the BBB. Dr. Sontheimer and his colleagues were surprised that very small groups of tumor cells, even individual cells, were sufficient to weaken the BBB early in the disease process.

“Evidence from our models suggests that early in the disease, invading tumor cells are not completely protected by the blood-brain barrier and may be more vulnerable to drugs delivered to the brain via the blood. If these findings hold true in humans, treatment with anti-invasive agents might be beneficial in newly diagnosed glioblastoma patients,” said Dr. Sontheimer. He added that localized breaches in the BBB may allow regionally precise delivery of drugs to attack tumor cells even in the earliest stage.

“Dr. Sontheimer’s findings provide us with new perspectives on how glioblastoma cells successfully invade within the brain and control blood flow to their advantage. These findings have the potential to change current approaches to treating glioblastoma,” said Jane Fountain, Ph.D., program director in charge of NINDS’ brain tumor portfolio.

Further research is needed to learn more about how the BBB is regulated and how brain tumor cells take over existing vessels to grow and spread. A better understanding of how tumor cells interact with the BBB may increase our ability to treat glioblastoma patients.


Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,700+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Cellular Factors that Shape the 3D Landscape of the Genome Identified
Researchers have identified 50 cellular factors required for the proper 3D positioning of genes by using novel large-scale imaging technology.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Nuclear Process in the Brain That May Affect Disease Uncovered
Scientists have shown that the passage of molecules through the nucleus of a star-shaped brain cell, called an astrocyte, may play a critical role in health and disease.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Tell-tale Biomarker Detects Early Breast Cancer in NIH-funded Study
The study published online in the issue of Nature Communications.
Thursday, August 13, 2015
Scientists Adopt New Strategy to Find Huntington’s Disease Therapies
Large, international NIH-supported study uses precision medicine to tackle neurological disorders.
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Study Shows Promise of Precision Medicine for Most Common Type of Lymphoma
The study appeared online July 20, 2015, in Nature Medicine.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
NIH Study Identifies Gene Variant Linked to Compulsive Drinking
Mice carrying the Met68BDNF gene variant would consume excessive amounts of alcohol.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
In Blinding Eye Disease, Trash-Collecting Cells Go Awry, Accelerate Damage
NIH research points to microglia as potential therapeutic target in retinitis pigmentosa.
Friday, July 03, 2015
Potential Therapeutic for Blinding Eye Disease
NIH research points to microglia as potential therapeutic target in retinitis pigmentosa.
Thursday, July 02, 2015
NCI-MATCH Trial will Link Targeted Cancer Drugs to Gene Abnormalities
Precision medicine trial will open to patient enrollment in July.
Tuesday, June 09, 2015
A New Role for Zebrafish: Larger Scale Gene Function Studies
A relatively new method of targeting specific DNA sequences in zebrafish could dramatically accelerate the discovery of gene function and the identification of disease genes in humans.
Monday, June 08, 2015
NIH Researchers Pilot Predictive Medicine by Studying Healthy People’s DNA
New study sequence the genomes of healthy participants to find “putative,” or presumed, mutations.
Friday, June 05, 2015
Linking Targeted Cancer Drugs to Gene Abnormalities
Investigators at the NIH have announced a series of clinical trials that will study drugs or drug combinations that target specific genetic mutations.
Wednesday, June 03, 2015
Scientists Create Mice with a Major Genetic Cause of ALS and FTD
NIH-funded study provides new platform for testing treatments for several neurodegenerative disorders.
Friday, May 22, 2015
Mice With a Major Genetic Cause of ALS and FTD Created
NIH-funded study provides new platform for testing treatments for several neurodegenerative disorders.
Thursday, May 21, 2015
New Insights into How DNA Differences Influence Gene Activity, Disease Susceptibility
NIH-funded pilot study provides a new resource about variants across the human genome.
Friday, May 08, 2015
Scientific News
Poor Survival Rates in Leukemia Linked to Persistent Genetic Mutations
For patients with an often-deadly form of leukemia, new research suggests that lingering cancer-related mutations – detected after initial treatment with chemotherapy – are associated with an increased risk of relapse and poor survival.
Searching Big Data Faster
Theoretical analysis could expand applications of accelerated searching in biology, other fields.
Growing Hepatitis C in the Lab
Recent discovery allows study of naturally occurring forms of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in the lab.
Inciting an Immune Attack on Cancer Cells
A new minimally invasive vaccine that combines cancer cells and immune-enhancing factors could be used clinically to launch a destructive attack on tumors.
Reprogramming Cancer Cells
Researchers on Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus have discovered a way to potentially reprogram cancer cells back to normalcy.
Genetic Overlapping in Multiple Autoimmune Diseases May Suggest Common Therapies
CHOP genomics expert leads analysis of genetic architecture, with eye on repurposing existing drugs.
Surprising Mechanism Behind Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Uncovered
Now, scientists at TSRI have discovered that the important human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus, develops resistance to this drug by “switching on” a previously uncharacterized set of genes.
How DNA ‘Proofreader’ Proteins Pick and Edit Their Reading Material
Researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have discovered how two important proofreader proteins know where to look for errors during DNA replication and how they work together to signal the body’s repair mechanism.
Fat in the Family?
Study could lead to therapeutics that boost metabolism.
Tissue Bank Pays Dividends for Brain Cancer Research
Checking what’s in the bank – the Brisbane Breast Bank, that is – has paid dividends for UQ cancer researchers.
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,700+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FREE!