Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
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

NIH Launches Early-Stage Yellow Fever Vaccine Trial
Researchers at NIH have begun an early-stage clinical trial of an investigational vaccine designed to protect against yellow fever virus.
Thursday, July 28, 2016
New Medication Shows Promise Against Liver Fibrosis in Animal Studies
Liver fibrosis is a gradual scarring of the liver that puts people at risk for progressive liver disease and liver failure.
Thursday, July 28, 2016
NIH Begins Yellow Fever Vaccine Trial
NIH has initiated an early-stage clinical trial of a vaccine to protect against yellow fever.
Thursday, July 28, 2016
Targeting Autoimmunity
Researchers have developed a strategy to treat a rare autoimmune disease which could lead to treatments of other autoimmune diseases.
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Molecule May Affect Gaucher, Parkinson's Disease
Research has identified a molecule that restores activity of a dysfunctional enzyme linked to Gaucher and Parkinson's disease.
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Uncovering Rhinovirus C Structure
Researchers have determined the structure of rhinovirus C. Their findings may aid the development of antiviral therapies and vaccines.
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Vaccine Strategy Targets Multiple Influenza Viruses
Scientists have identified vaccine-induced antibodies that can neutralize strains of influenza virus that infect humans.
Monday, July 25, 2016
Connectome Map More Than Doubles Human Cortex’s Known Regions
Researchers at NIH have developed software that automatically detects the “fingerprint” of each of these areas in an individual’s brain scans.
Saturday, July 23, 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
Brain Circuits Helps People Cope With Stress
Researchers at NIH have identified brain patterns in humans that appear to underlie “resilient coping,” to stress that help some people handle stressful situations better than others.
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
NIH Investment Into HIV Research Expands
Funding has been awarded to six research teams to lead collaborative investigations worldwide toward an HIV cure.
Thursday, July 14, 2016
Treatment Advancement for Gaucher and Parkinson's Diseases
NIH scientists identify molecule that may act as a possible treatment of neurological diseases.
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Use it or Lose it: Visual Activity Regenerates Links Between Eye, Brain
The mouse study is first to show visual stimulation helps re-wire visual system and partially restores sight.
Tuesday, July 12, 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
Scientific News
Breakthrough Flu Vaccine Inhibited by Pre-existing Antibodies
Universal truths – how existing antibodies are sabotaging the most promising new human flu vaccines.
Liquid Biopsies: Miracle Diagnostic or Next New Fad?
Thanks to the development of highly specific gene-amplification and sequencing technologies liquid biopsies access more biomarkers relevant to more cancers than ever before.
NIH Launches Early-Stage Yellow Fever Vaccine Trial
Researchers at NIH have begun an early-stage clinical trial of an investigational vaccine designed to protect against yellow fever virus.
New Medication Shows Promise Against Liver Fibrosis in Animal Studies
Liver fibrosis is a gradual scarring of the liver that puts people at risk for progressive liver disease and liver failure.
Raw Eggs Deemed Safe to Eat
A report published today by the Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food (ACMSF) into egg safety has shown a major reduction in the risk from salmonella in UK eggs.
Monitoring TTX Toxin in Shellfish
In a number of small studies, mussels and oysters from the eastern and northern part of the Oosterschelde in Holland were found to contain tetrodotoxin (TTX).
Gene Terapy for Muscle Wasting Developed
New gene therapy could save millions of people suffering from muscle wasting disease.
NIH Begins Yellow Fever Vaccine Trial
NIH has initiated an early-stage clinical trial of a vaccine to protect against yellow fever.
Gene-Editing 'Toolbox' Targets Multiple Genes Simultaneously
Researchers have designed a system that modifies, or edits, multiple genes in a genome at once while minimising unintentional effects.
Detecting Alzheimer's with Smell Test
Odour identification test may offer low-cost alternative for predicting cognitive decline and detecting early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
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
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!