Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
RNAi
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

Join For Free

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 3,300+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,900+ 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

Researchers Develop Software That Could Facilitate Drug Development
AptaTRACE can identify aptamers, potentially speed drug advancement.
Saturday, July 30, 2016
Uncovering a New Principle in Chemotherapy Resistance in Breast Cancer
The NIH study has revealed an entirely unexpected process for acquiring drug resistance that bypasses the need to re-establish DNA damage repair in breast cancers that have mutant BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.
Thursday, July 21, 2016
Largest-Ever Study of Breast Cancer Genetics in Black Women
The study will identify genetic factors that may underlie breast cancer disparities.
Thursday, July 07, 2016
Submissions Open for the Cancer Moonshot Program
NCI opens online platform to submit ideas about research for Cancer Moonshot.
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Researchers Find Link Between Death of Tumor-Support Cells and Cancer Metastasis
Researchers at NIH have found that the lifespan of supportive cells in a tumor may control the spread of cancer.
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Cancer Drug Target Visualized at Atomic Resolution
New study using cryo-electron microscopy shows how potential drugs could inhibit cancer.
Thursday, February 04, 2016
Scientists Develop Genetic Blueprint of Inner Ear Cell Development
Two studies in mice use new technique to provide insight into cell development critical for hearing, balance.
Saturday, October 17, 2015
NIH Breast Cancer Research to Focus On Prevention
A new phase of the Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program (BCERP), focused on prevention, is being launched at the National Institutes of Health.
Friday, October 09, 2015
New Gene Therapy for Vision Loss From a Mitochondrial Disease
NIH-funded study shows success in targeting mitochondrial DNA in mice.
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
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
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
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
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
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
Scientific News
Researchers Develop Software That Could Facilitate Drug Development
AptaTRACE can identify aptamers, potentially speed drug advancement.
Gene Therapy for Metabolic Liver Diseases
Researchers have tested gene therapy in pigs from hereditary tyrosinemia type 1, with corrected liver cells being transplanted into the diseased liver.
Gene Terapy for Muscle Wasting Developed
New gene therapy could save millions of people suffering from muscle wasting disease.
Testing Nanoparticle Drug Delivery in Dogs
Scientists have tested a nanoparticle drug delivery against bone cancer in dogs with promising results.
Fighting Cancer Through Protein Pathways
Researchers have found a new drug target within a protein production pathway critical to regulating growth and proliferation of cells.
Triple-Action Therapy Patch Shows Promise
Patch that delivers drug, gene, and light-based therapy to tumor sites shows promising results in mice.
Cancer Gene-Drug Combinations Ripe for Precision Medicine
The study aims to expand the number of cancer gene mutations that can be paired with a precision therapy.
Exploiting Malaria’s Achilles’ Heel
Researchers have uncovered an Achilles' heel in malaria's anti-drug treatment arsenal that could lead to a disease cure.
Targeting BRAF Mutations in Thyroid Cancer
Treating metastatic thyroid cancer patients harboring a BRAF mutation with vemurafenib showed anti-tumor activity in a third of patients.
Colon Cancer Blocked in Mice
Case Western Reserve University Researchers block common type of colon cancer tumour in mice, laying groundwork for human clinical trial.
SELECTBIO

SELECTBIO Market Reports
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
3,300+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,900+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!