UMASS logoMalignant glioma is a fatal brain cancer which apparently has no cure. In order to develop a medication, it is very important to thoroughly understand this type of cancer. The University of Massachusetts Medical School initiated a research to determine the cellular pathway of this cancer. This research may enable the experts to ascertain the capacity of this cancer to grow and the therapy that can be employed to cripple the ability of the cancer to grow further.

The investigators first began the research by utilizing a genome-wide RNAi screening tool. This tool helped then to analyze a dozen genes that affect the function of a protein, vital for glioma cells to grow. Professor Michael R. Green, MD, PhD, and colleagues then discovered a key pathway that is claimed to be affected two cancer drugs.

Usually the investigators aim to control the growth of cancer cells. Mainly because it is believed that an uncontrolled growth due to over-expression of genes may enable the cells to survive or under-expression of those genes, seem to encourage normal cell death. It is very essential that the genes survive, as they can reveal positive results of the drug therapy that has been conducted.

The investigators allege to have uncovered a unique method of scanning the genome. This helps to classify the genes that seem to boost the natural process of programmed cell death called ‘apoptosis’ or that restrict the growth of cells. They further applied the genome-wide RNA interference screening technique, so that they could determine the genes regulating the expression of a transcription factor called ATF5 in malignant glioma cells.

The authors aim to reveal at least one novel genetic pathway, which possibly regulates the key transcription factor. They further aspire to ascertain that the cancer drugs sorafenib and temozolomide arrest glioma growth. It is possible to find an accurate therapy for this disease, if further studies are successfully ventured out.

The research was published in the journal Nature Medicine and in an Advanced Online Publication.