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

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 3,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 5,000+ 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

“Sixth Sense” More Than a Feeling
NIH study of rare genetic disorder reveals importance of touch and body awareness.
Monday, September 26, 2016
The Genetics of Blood Pressure
Researchers have identifed areas of the genome associated with blood-pressure including 17 previously unknown loci.
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Catalogue of Human Genetic Diversity Expands
The largest data set of human exomes to date has been assembled to better study seqence variants and their consequences.
Wednesday, September 07, 2016
$12.4M Awarded to Neural Regeneration Projects
The National Institutes of Health will fund six projects to identify biological factors that influence neural regeneration.
Friday, September 02, 2016
New Inflammatory Disease Discovered
NIH researchers have discovered a rare and potentially deadly disease - otulipenia - the mostly affects children.
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Public Support for National Study
Survey shows the majority of respondents support or show willingness for national precision medicine study.
Thursday, August 18, 2016
Schizophrenia, Autism Share Genetic Causes
Monkey brain developmental atlas pinpoints when, where genes activate.
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
How Breast Cancers Resist Chemotherapy
Researchers discovered an unexpected way that breast cancers cells with mutant BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes acquire drug resistance and evade chemotherapies.
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Mutations Linked to Immunotherapy Resistance
Researchers uncover mutations in tumors of three patients with advanced melanoma that allowed the tumors to become resistant to the immune checkpoint inhibitor pembrolizumab (Keytruda®).
Tuesday, August 09, 2016
Genetic Cause of Rare Pediatric Neuropathy Identified
NIH mouse study identifies the mechanism responsible for a rare form of pediatric neuropathy.
Thursday, August 04, 2016
Depression Genetics Insight from Crowd-Sourced Data
Genome sites liked to depression have been discovered from data shared by people who had purchased their genetic profiles online.
Tuesday, August 02, 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
NIH Funds Million-Person Medicine Study
NIH announces $55million in awards to build foundations for ambitious Cohort Program that aims to engage 1 million participants in lifestyle, environments and genetics research.
Friday, July 08, 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
Significant Expansion Of Data Available In The Genomic Data Commons
Cancer genomic profile information from 18,000 adult cancer patients will be added to the database.
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Scientific News
Heart Arrhythmia Caused by Mosaic of Mutant Cells
Researchers have solved the genetic mystery of an infant suffering from heart arrhythmia.
Crispr Toolbox Expanded By Protein
Researchers have shown a newly discovered CRISPR protein has two distinct RNA cutting activities.
Genetic Impact of Endurance Training
Research has found that endurance training changes genetic activity in thousands of genes, giving rise to large number of altered RNA variants.
Wearable Microscope Can Measure Fluorescent Dyes Through Skin
UCLA research could make monitoring disease biomarkers easier and more cost-effective.
“Sixth Sense” More Than a Feeling
NIH study of rare genetic disorder reveals importance of touch and body awareness.
A Diversity of Genomes
New DNA from understudied groups reveals modern genetic variation, ancient population shifts.
Gene Could Reduce Female Mosquitoes
Virginia Tech researchers have found a gene that can reduce female mosquitoes over many generations.
Improving Crop Efficiency with CRISPR
New study of CRISPR-Cas9 technology from Virginia Tech shows potential to improve crop efficiency.
Examining mtDNA May Help Identify Unknown Ancestry That Influences Breast Cancer Risk
Researchers studying mtDNA in a group of triple negative breast cancer patients found that 13 percent of participants were unaware of ancestry that could influence their risk of cancer.
Bacteria Use Ranking Strategy to Fight Off Viruses
Researchers have explained why microbes store virus confrontation information sequentially, with most recent attacks first.
Skyscraper Banner

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
3,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,000+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!