AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 27, Number 2, 2018


Johns Hopkins Researchers Uncover More Genetic Links to Brain Cancer Cell Growth

Two recently discovered genetic differences between brain cancer cells and normal tissue cells – an altered gene and a snippet of noncoding genetic material – could offer clues to tumor behavior and potential new targets for therapy, Johns Hopkins scientists report. In a report on one of two findings, the investigators identified alterations in a protein known as ATRX in human brain tumors that arise as part of a genetically inherited condition known as neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1). The disorder, marked initially by benign tumors on nerves, often leads to brain cancer, and although most NF1-related malignancies are nonaggressive, a faction are “high-grade” and difficult to treat, experts say. Study leader Fausto J. Rodriguez, MD, associate professor of pathology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and member of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, says the new study sought to sort out what makes the more aggressive NF1-related tumors genetically different from low grade tumors and normal, healthy cells. 

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