Gene Linked to Metabolism Drives Deadly Brain Cancer
Could lead to targeted treatments for this aggressive disease
Scientists have identified a gene involved in cell metabolism and energy production that is overactive in a deadly form of brain cancer known as glioblastoma, according to a study at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The findings suggest that inhibiting that gene may improve the outlook for glioblastoma patients. Glioblastoma is the most common and aggressive brain cancer in adults. Over 70 percent of patients with glioblastoma die within two years of diagnosis. The new research showed that glioblastoma patients with high expression of a gene known at NAMPT died sooner. Tumors with elevated expression of the same gene grew rapidly when they were implanted in mice and shrank when NAMPT was inhibited. NAMPT is a key component of a metabolic pathway known as the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) pathway that is involved in producing cellular energy and plays a key role in several biological processes that depend on energy generation, such as aging, diabetes and inflammation.
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