New Research Discovered To Treat Brain Cancer In Kids

A new pathway has been discovered by scientists that can attack and improve survival rate in an incurable type of brain cancer among children.

Tavishi Dogra
Written by: Tavishi DograUpdated at: Sep 26, 2019 10:13 IST
New Research Discovered To Treat Brain Cancer In Kids

Brain Cancer in Kids: Scientists have developed a new technology to treat cancer, which could help children increase survival rates in incurable brain cancer and reduce their risk. This research has been published in the journal Nature Communications which states that tumor cells inhibit the cellular process which contributes to diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPG) tumors.

What is a DIPG Tumor?

DIPG tumors are highly aggressive and inactive which grow in the brain stem and are usually suffering in children under 10 years of age. Most patients do not survive more than one year after diagnosis. Earlier studies identified a genetic mutation called PPM1D that plays an important role in cell growth, cell stress response and contributed to DIPG tumors. But this new study found that PPM1D mutations may help control DIPG.

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How is this study different?

  • The study has shown that weakness in the metabolic process that can arise to make NAD. NAD is a type of metabolite that helps keep all cancer cells alive. The study's senior author Michael Bernes believes that the PPM1D mutation gene, (which increases the risk of cancer) determines the stage to destroy itself and helps reduce the chances of developing cancer.
  • The researchers also reported that mutations destroy a gene called PPM1D, NAPRT, which contributes to the production of NAD metabolite. With the end of NAPRT, NAD switches the cell to another protein (needed to produce a metabolite called NAMPT).
  • Use the drug to prevent the production of NAMPT and these drugs can help eliminate those cancer cells with pPM1D mutation genes too. 
  • The researchers believed that DIPG is an early symptom of brain tumors in adults, and therefore similar treatments for adult glioma in children were extensively tested but failed to cure.
  • Scientists began to look at the possible weaknesses of the tumor and it took a year-long study on the subject to understand what role PPM1D mutations play in causing cancer.

Sen Peng, the author who contributed to the study, said, when analyzing epigenetic silence results, it was found that DIPG cells with PPM1D mutations create a weakness for a major enzyme and for which small molecule inhibitors are already available.

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